Earnest W. Deavenport, Jr.
1999 Honorary Alumni
Earnest W. Deavenport Jr. is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Eastman Chemical Company. He became chairman and CEO on January 1, 1994, after having served more than 30 years with the company.
Born in Macon, Mississippi, Deavenport attended Mississippi State University where he graduated in 1960 with a bachelors degree in chemical engineering. That same year, he joined Eastman as a chemical engineer.
He went on to hold a variety of management positions before being named president of Carolina Eastman in 1982. After a few more promotions, Deavenport was appointed president of Tennessee Eastman and group vice president of Kodak in 1989. From 1992 to August 1993, he was a member of the Kodak board of directors, until he resigned as part of the spin-off of the Eastman Chemical Company.
Under Deavenport's leadership, Eastman has an aggressive global growth strategy to increase sales outside the United States. He has overseen the development of new products and the acquisition and building of several new plants around the world in such places like Wales, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
Deavenport also serves in several civic and community organizations including the policy committee of The Business Roundtable and the boards of directors of the Chemical Manufacturing Association, the American Plastics Council, Milliken & Company, First American Corporation, and the Greater Tri-Cities Business Alliance. He was chairperson of the National Association of Manufacturers, and currently serves on the board of trustees of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Awards Foundation, The Manufacturing Institute, the Chemical Educational Foundation, Lees-McRae College, and Junior Achievement of Kingsport. Additionally, he is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Mississippi State University Advisory Council, National Academy of Engineering Advisory Council, National Academy of Engineering, Society of Chemical Industry (American Section), The Conference Board, and the ETSU Foundation.
Deavenport and his wife Mary Ann reside in Kingsport. They have two children: Lisa Ireland, a Senior Human Resources Representative with Ashland Chemical Company, resides in Powell, Ohio, and Scott Deavenport, a private business owner, resides in Asheville, North Carolina.