People to watch: up and coming power players

03 December 2007 00:00  [Source: ICB]

These five didn't make the list for 2007. But keep your eye on them. They just may be in the Top 40 next year.

ALFRED OBERHOLZ

became deputy chairman of Degussa's management board in May 2006. A chemist, he is a leading figure on the European chemical and biotech industry research scene, notably this year as chairman of both SusChem, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry, and Dechema, the German society for chemical engineering and biotech. He is also the spokesman for White Biotechnology Germany. With Degussa reborn as the chemical business of Evonik, which way will he steer this new group?

DIMITRY KONOV

is the 37-year-old chief executive of Russian petrochemical, plastics and rubber producer Sibur. His aim: to build Sibur into the second-largest supplier to the European market, over the next five years. Certainly, he has big expansion plans for the company - adding significant new olefins, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) capacities and pursuing joint projects and strategic acquisitions. How far along this five-year journey will 2008 take him?

SU SHULIN

was appointed chairman of Sinopec midyear, following a management shuffle. As a company outsider, Su, a former oilman from rival PetroChina, is expected to boost Sinopec's upstream business. His experience in the Daqing oil field, Asia's largest, could produce a more balanced Sinopec strategy, which historically has focused on the downstream business. But can he make any real significant changes within this state-owned giant?

PIOTR KOWNACKI

who is an ally and personal appointee of Poland's prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, became director general of PKN Orlen in January, signaling a growing politicization of the state-controlled company. Kownacki, a former vice president of Poland's Supreme Chamber of Control, was appointed because of his experience in government and energy security, rather than for his commercial expertise. With continuing talk of a merger of PKN Orlen with Grupa Lotos, consolidation in the Central and Eastern European oil and petrochemical sector and the threat of a hostile Russian bid, time will tell whether he can demonstrate the business acumen that hispredecessor was noted for.

MARK GARRETT

was named CEO-designate and chairman of Borealis in January, to succeed John Taylor, who retires at the end of this year. A Ciba Specialty Chemicals' veteran, Garrett joined Borealis in April. That's given him an eight-month lead time to formulate his plan. He joins as Borealis expands in the Middle East, pursues a scrap-and-build program in Europe, and focuses on innovation. But the purse strings are held by the majority (65%) shareholder, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC) of Abu Dhabi. Will that preclude Garrett's own identity stamp?

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