David N. Farr
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
During David Farr’s 17-plus years leading Emerson, the company has steadily transformed from a diversified manufacturing conglomerate into a highly focused two platform global enterprise that provides innovative technology and broad service solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Such was the case in 2016 as Farr led a number of strategic initiatives that again reshaped the company for the future. Its two key business platforms, Automation Solutions and Commercial and Residential Solutions, delivered global sales of more than $15.3 billion in 2017, with international sales representing 52 percent of that total.
Since becoming CEO in 2000 (he was named chairman in 2004), Farr has put a priority on creating long-term value for shareholders and investing for long-term growth while maintaining the company’s solid financial performance relative to earnings, cash flow, and return on capital. Emerson is one of a handful of companies with 60 consecutive years or more of increasing dividends to its shareholders.
Farr joined the company in 1981 in a corporate staff position and progressed through a series of corporate staff and business unit management positions with increasing responsibilities. In 1993, he was appointed president of Emerson’s Asia-Pacific operations and was based in Hong Kong for four years. Farr returned to the United States in 1997 to oversee Emerson’s process control business. In 1999, Farr was appointed as Emerson’s chief operating officer and held that position until being named CEO.
As Emerson CEO, Farr has been an active member of business and industry organizations. He serves as the current chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) board of directors. He is on the board of directors for the US-China Business Council and also is a member of the board of directors of IBM.
Farr has been active in a wide range of civic and charitable organizations in St. Louis. He is a member and past president of Civic Progress, an organization of chief executives from leading companies in St. Louis who work together to promote the region. He currently serves on the executive board of the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis (The Muny at Forest Park). He has served stints on the boards of directors for several nonprofits and educational institutions, including the United Way of Greater St. Louis. In recognition of his community leadership and charitable activities, Farr was named St. Louis Citizen of the Year in 2011 and was recognized by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation with the Semper Fidelis Award in 2012.
Farr received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in business administration from Vanderbilt University.