DuPont to Cut 1,700 Jobs in Delaware

The company says the layoffs of 28% of its home state workforce reflect an "urgent need" to reduce corporate overhead costs.
Matthew HellerDecember 30, 2015

In a move Delaware’s governor called “deeply disappointing,” DuPont has announced it will reduce its workforce in its home state by about 28% ahead of its merger with Dow Chemical.

DuPont had previously indicated it would trim its workforce of 63,000 by 10% and slash costs by $700 million. The company said Tuesday that as part of that plan, about 1,700 jobs will be eliminated in Delaware by early 2016.

“The effect in Delaware will be significant, reflecting the urgent need to restructure our cost base and, as part of that effort, reduce our corporate overhead costs so that we can remain competitive,” DuPont CEO Ed Breen said in a letter to employees.

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He said he chose to announce the full scope of the job cuts now — even before many employees have received a pink slip — because DuPont is required to detail the layoffs in a state filing due by Thursday.

All Delaware workers laid off by DuPont will receive a separation package, career placement services and training allowances based on years of service, company officials said.

DuPont has operated in Delaware for more than 213 years. Gov. Jack Markell said the layoffs were “deeply disappointing, especially to the thousands of Delawareans who helped this company grow and succeed for generations.”

“I think DuPont has an obligation to let the public and investors know if Delaware is still in the company’s future after 213 years there in the state,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a business professor at Yale University, told the News Journal. “I still don’t see what the vision is.”

Sonnenfeld said the company was cutting “muscle and bone — not fat — all to impress some misguided investors,” while U.S. Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) called the announcement “a punch to the gut as we’re closing out the year.”

The new $130 billion DowDuPont plans to combine products from both companies in the areas of agriculture, commodity chemicals and specialty products to create three new businesses. Although DuPont will eliminate more than one in four of its positions in Delaware, the company is not expected to shutter any of its local facilities, company officials said.