The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement in Business Award, presented by Duke Energy, was presented to PPD and Furiex Pharmaceuticals Founder Fred Eshelman at the Chamber’s 151st Annual Meeting on February 8, 2018. The award recognizes area business leaders that have influenced the success of their business through long-term, active and innovative engagement, as well as contributions that have set honorees apart as successful leaders in a company, an industry and their community.
After moving to Wilmington in 1986, Dr. Fred Eshelman grew PPD into a worldwide leader in the pharmaceutical and contract research organization industry. Within 11 years of its founding, PPD had its first public stock offering.
In 1997, it became the first CRO to offer drug discovery services. By 2005, revenue exceeded $1 billion.When PPD was acquired by The Carlyle Group in 2011, the company had more than 10,000 employees globally, including 1,500 at the Wilmington headquarters. By growing PPD into an industry leader, Fred Eshelman has had an everlasting effect on Wilmington and on thousands of lives, whether it’s been through employment at the company or being aided by the countless gifts from PPD to community organizations…as well as by The Eshelman Foundation, a private family foundation that focuses on children’s education and healthcare causes. Dr. Eshelman’s vision was also transformational for downtown Wilmington.
In 2007, the 12-story PPD corporate headquarters building opened on the Cape Fear River, igniting a development boom in downtown Wilmington, and leading to a complete reshaping of the Northside.