, | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2012
Jeremy (Jinghuai) Xu intended to
become a university professor of
biotechnology, but his balanced knowledge
of both experimental science and business
led him instead into corporate research
and business development.
Xu leads 320 professionals in finance,
marketing, sales, technology, and supply
chain management for DuPont Protection
Technologies, a unit of DuPont that owns
the well-known brands Kevlar® and
Tyvek®, among others. Xu’s responsibility
extends to Japan, Korea, China, India,
Australia, and 15 other countries, and the
total business revenue of the Asia Pacific
area he manages exceeded $800 million in
2011. Under his leadership, the business
has doubled in five years.
This savvy businessman considers
himself a scientist first. “I’m not unique
— we have many managers with Ph.D.
degrees,” he says. “Everything we do in
DuPont is built on solid science.”
Xu grew up in China and attended one of
the top universities in his province, where
he met his wife, Lingling Shi. He worked
for two years in a research institute in
southern China before pursuing graduate
study in Hong Kong, where a chain of
contacts introduced him to Purdue.
Today Xu tells friends he “lives in an
airplane,” as he travels a region highly
diverse in culture, language, and economics.
His management style is one of servant
leadership: “I put the right people in the
right place and make sure they have the right
tools and resources for mutually agreed-upon
common goals. It’s all built on trust,” he
explains. “I trust them, and they trust me.”
He also is committed to mentoring
younger managers, both because he enjoys
it and because he feels an obligation to pay
back the many people at Purdue and DuPont
who coached him along the way. Xu is a
relentlessly hard worker whose business
acumen and interpersonal skills have helped
him earn the company’s top awards.
Working for a U.S. company in Asia
involves frequent evening conference calls,
so Xu has little spare time during the
workweek. He devotes weekends to his
family, which includes two daughters,
and he plays bridge — another skill he
practiced at Purdue.