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David Nelson Farr (born 1955) is an American business executive. He is the chairman and CEO of Emerson Electric Company, a Fortune 500 company.[4][5] Farr has worked at the company since 1981. He is married with two children and is a resident of Ladue, Missouri.[6]

David N. Farr
David N Farr.jpg
David Farr (2011)
Born1955 (age 63–64)
EducationBS, (Chemistry),
Alma materWake Forest University
Vanderbilt University
EmployerEmerson Electric Company
TitleChairman & CEO
Board member ofEmerson Electric Company, 2000[1]
Delphi, 2002[2]
IBM, 2012[3]

On October 25, 2011, IBM announced Farr was elected to its board of directors,[3] and he joined the board on January 1, 2012.


Early life and educationEdit

Farr was born in the United States in 1955. He went to Wake Forest University and graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1977.[6][7] He went on to earn an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University in 1981.[6][7]


Farr began his career at Emerson more than 35 years ago. He held various positions upon his initial employment including manager of investor relations, vice president of corporate planning and development, president of the Ridge Tool division and group vice president for the industrial components and equipment business.[6] He ascended the corporate ladder serving as president of Emerson Electric Asia-Pacific and then chief executive officer of Emerson's Astec joint venture Astec(BSR) PLC.[8] He eventually became a senior executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1999. He was eventually named CEO in October 2000 succeeding Charles F. Knight who had held the position for the previous 27 years.[5] Additionally, Farr was elected chairman of the board of Emerson in 2004.[8] Farr currently serves on the board of directors for IBM[9], the Delphi Corporation, the United Way of Greater St. Louis and is a member of The Business Council.[6]


While CEO of Emerson Electric in 2009, David N. Farr earned a total compensation of $6,899,987, which included a base salary of $1,168,750, a cash bonus of $1,500,000, stock granted of $3,735,000, and other compensation totaling $496,237.[10]

Awards and recognitionEdit

Farr was the 2007 campaign chair for the United Way of Greater St. Louis,[11] leading the community to raise a record-breaking $68.8 million to help people in the 16-county region of metro St. Louis.[12] He was also named one of the Top 25 Managers in 2000.[13] Emerson has been awarded as well under Farr's management having been named one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens in 2004.[14] Institutional Investor magazine named David Farr, CEO of Emerson EMR, one of The Best CEOs in America in the electrical equipment and multi-industry in 2008.[15]

Farr has aggressively moved Emerson production and design operations to low-cost, low-regulation environments outside the United States, particularly the People's Republic of China. Under Farr's leadership, Emerson laid off 14% of its U.S. workforce in 2009, eliminating nearly 20,000 jobs. While speaking at the Baird Industrial Outlook Conference in Chicago, in November 2009, Farr attacked the Obama administration for its attention to "labor rules" and "health reform", and stated: "What do you think I'm going to do? I'm not going to hire anyone in the United States. I'm moving."

Personal lifeEdit

Farr is married with two children and is a resident of Ladue, Missouri.[6]


  1. ^ David Farr | Emerson Executive Leadership Team Archived 2010-08-30 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ David Farr Profile
  3. ^ a b David N. Farr Elected to IBM Board of Directors
  4. ^ Fortune 500 (101-200)
  5. ^ a b Business Biographies
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Emerson Executive Profile". Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2008-01-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ a b Forbes
  8. ^ a b "NEMA". Archived from the original on 2009-09-19. Retrieved 2008-01-29. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ "IBM Investor relations - Corporate governance | Board of directors". 2017-03-13. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  10. ^ 2009 CEO Compensation for David N. Farr Archived 2009-04-14 at the Wayback Machine, Equilar
  11. ^ St. Louis United Way
  12. ^ St. Louis United Way[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ BusinessWeek Top 25 Managers 2000
  14. ^ "Business Ethics Magazine". Archived from the original on 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2008-01-29. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  15. ^ MSN Money