David Nelson Farr (born 1955) is an American business executive. He is the chairman and CEO of Emerson Electric Company, a Fortune 500 company. Farr has worked at the company since 1981. He is married with two children and is a resident of Ladue, Missouri.
On October 25, 2011, IBM announced Farr was elected to its board of directors, and he joined the board on January 1, 2012.
Farr was born in the United States in 1955. He went to Wake Forest University and graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1977. He went on to earn an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University in 1981.
Farr began his career at Emerson more than 25 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. 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. 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. Additionally, Farr was elected chairman of the board of Emerson in 2004. Farr currently serves on the board of directors for IBM, the Delphi Corporation, the United Way of Greater St. Louis and is a member of The Business Council.
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.
Farr was the 2007 campaign chair for the United Way of Greater St. Louis, leading the community to raise a record-breaking $68.8 million to help people in the 16-county region of metro St. Louis. He was also named one of the Top 25 Managers in 2000. Emerson has been awarded as well under Farr's management having been named one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens in 2004. 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.
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."
Farr is married with two children and is a resident of Ladue, Missouri.