08 December 2008 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Correction: in the story headlined The 2008 ICIS Top 40, please read, in entry 21 (James O'Brien, Ashland) "This summer, the company signed a memorandum of understanding to combine its global metal casings and foundry chemical operations," instead of "This summer, the company combined its global metal casings and foundry chemical operations." A corrected story follows:
The ICIS Top 40 Power Players highlights the most influential people impacting the global chemical industry. From CEOs to politicians to government officials, see who's made the cut and who's on the way up
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THEY SAY it's lonely at the top. But the ICIS Top 40 Power Players have plenty of company. It is often a team effort that propels an individual to the top, and those in positions of power will hopefully flex their muscle to the benefit of many.
We have a stellar group this year in our third installment of the special series. These people have changed the face of the global chemical industry - through mergers and acquisitions, policy leadership, innovation, or financial performance.
A purely subjective exercise, we asked our reporters, numbering more than 100, around the world in North America, Europe and Asia for candidates, and then put them up for debate. A special thanks to the entire worldwide ICIS team for their efforts. The result is our ICIS Top 40 Power Players. Get to know them if you haven't already.
THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE
For the first time, we also invited readers to vote for the "People's Choice" on ICIS connect at www.icis.com/icisconnect, our online discussion forum.
Throughout November, we presented the Top 10 finalists on ICIS connect and asked people to choose their top pick.
After more than 480 votes, LyondellBasell CEO Volker Trautz was the overwhelming favorite, with more than 83% of the vote, followed by Dow Chemical chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris, with over 7.4%. BASF chairman and CEO Jurgen Hambrecht came in third, with 2.7%. Thanks for voting!
1 JURGEN HAMBRECHT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BASF?xml:namespace>
Under his leadership, the German chemical giant BASF's stellar growth has continued in 2008, consolidating the company's position as the world's largest and possibly, best managed, chemical company.
Most recently, Hambrecht showed how decisively he can act during these unprecedented times of economic turmoil. In the face of collapsing demand in important end-use markets such as automotive and construction, in November he announced production cuts at about 100 plants worldwide in an attempt to curtail overcapacity.
Scheduled maintenance was brought forward, and Europe bore the brunt of the shutdowns, with 50 of the total planned closures in the region, compared with 20 in Asia and 10 in ?xml:namespace>
Perhaps Hambrecht's biggest coup in 2008, though, was BASF's acquisition of Swiss specialty firm Ciba for Swiss franc (Swfr) 6.1bn ($5.1bn, €3.6bn), due to close in 2009. BASF plans to merge the Ciba plastic additives, coatings effects and water and paper treatment chemical businesses into its performance products segment. They will add about 7% to BASF's sales, taking the 2007 pro forma figure to €62bn ($78m).
This move, together with the earlier acquisitions of US catalyst maker Engelhard and Germany-based Degussa's construction chemical business, increase BASF's presence in truly specialty businesses.
Hambrecht has also capitalized on the political clout he has as head of an $85bn (€67bn) company. He has been particularly vocal about the EU's plans to introduce buying of emissions rights under the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) after 2012. In October, he declared this could seriously harm the competitiveness of the European chemical industry. "I would like to see an end to the systematic attempts to deindustrialize
To the envy of many, Hambrecht's team has also cleverly negotiated with
In October, the company officially launched natural gas production at its Achimgaz joint venture (JV) in
The two companies are planning to make additional investments worth several billion euros in European natural gas infrastructure in the coming years.
One thorn in Hambrecht's side, however, is BASF's failure so far to sell its underperforming styrenics business, which has been on the market for well over a year.
Despite adding its styrenic copolymers units to the carve-out, then splitting the package into a number of subsidiaries to attract investors, BASF has still not found a buyer.
The new subsidiaries - with total annual sales of about €4bn - will now include styrene copolymer plants in
Although the new subsidiaries are not planned to be launched until January 2009, in August, BASF said it was already in negotiations with a bidder for the carve-out businesses. These talks do not appear to have been fruitful, however.
2 ANDREW LIVERIS, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, DOW CHEMICAL
The CEO of the largest US-based chemical company since 2004 and chairman since 2006, Liveris is making his mark with two of the most transformational deals in industry history.
The first, a $15bn (€11.9bn) in sales commodity chemical joint venture (JV) with Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co. set to close by January 1, 2009, marks the centerpiece in Dow's "asset-light" strategy, where it lightens its capital footprint in large-scale projects. The JV will have access to advantaged feedstock from
The second, the pending acquisition of US-based specialties giant Rohm and Haas for $18.8bn, represents the largest buyout ever in chemicals and will solidify Dow as a specialty chemicals player.
Liveris has also taken a leadership role in helping to create a comprehensive and sustainable
The plan calls for higher energy efficiency, speeding renewable energy development, boosting oil and gas production, optimizing the carbon efficiency of coal and accelerating use of nuclear energy.
3 MOHAMED AL-MADY, CEO, SABIC
SABIC goes from strength to strength, ably assisted by its CEO and vice chairman, Mohamed al-Mady. Al-Mady has overseen spectacular growth for the
SABIC is widely recognized as a petrochemical leader. The audacious purchase of US-based GE Plastics helped flesh out its portfolio. The deal has given one of the fastest-growing producers in the sector even more room to grow and access to a deeper understanding of important customer markets for materials and polymers.
Al-Mady remains ambitious and is seeking investment opportunities not only in the Middle East/North Africa region, but in
4 MAHA MULLA HUSsAIN, Chairman and MD, Petrochemical Industries Co.
The head of
5 Su Shulin, Chairman, Sinopec
6 Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries
Under Mukesh Ambani's leadership, India-based Reliance continues to dominate the Indian petrochemical scene and to push forward with diversification and globalization plans. At home, construction of subsidiary Reliance Petroleum's new worldscale refinery-cum-polypropylene (PP) complex at
7 hans wijers, CEO, AkzoNobel
Hans Wijers has overseen the transformation of Netherlands-based AkzoNobel in 2008 into the world's largest coatings producer and a leader in decorative paints. Integrating the
8 Volker trautz, CEO, LyondellBasell
Which would you prefer? A seat on the board of the world's largest chemical producer, or to be CEO of the world's No. 4? Volker Trautz has enjoyed both in his successful career. He was a board member of Germany-based BASF in the 1990s for
9 Jon Huntsman, Chairman, Huntsman
Chairman and founder of US-based Huntsman, he is steering the company's difficult $3bn (€2.3bn) lawsuit in Texas against US-based Apollo Management and its principals, Leon Black and Joshua Harris, for fraud in Hexion's busted merger attempt. Having won an order in a
10 abdallah jum'ah, President and CEO, Saudi Aramco
After 40 years with the Saudi state-owned oil giant, Jum'ah has packed a lot into the last 12 months before he retires in December. In May, he inked a deal with French major Total to build a 400,000 bbl/day refinery in
11 Axel heitmann, Chairman and CEO, LANXESS
Axel Heitmann kept the company's shareholders happy this year - not because of a blockbuster acquisition, but because the Germany-based company was able to keep its 2008 financial target on track amid the current global financial turbulence. The company was also on track with its investment strategies in emerging markets, spending €400m ($563m) on a butyl rubber plant in
12 Stephanie burns, Chairman and CEO, Dow Corning
One of the very few female CEOs, Stephanie Burns has led US-based Dow Corning on a rapid top-line growth path since it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-2004. Sales have doubled to over $5bn (€3.9bn), driven by her focus on innovation and geographic expansion into regions including
13 feike sijbesma, Chairman, DSM
As chairman of DSM's managing board since May 2007, Feike Sijbesma has had his hands full keeping the Netherlands-based firm's forward momentum going. DSM won this year's ICIS Innovation Award for its groundbreaking collaboration with the UN World Food Programme. Together they are helping to fight world hunger with the development of a novel micronutrient powder that can be used conveniently in food fortification at home in developing countries. Sijbesma has also been busy implementing DSM's Vision 2010 strategy, initially announced in 2005, which aims to generate €1bn ($1.3bn) in new sales from innovation by 2010. Over the past few years, DSM has followed Vision 2010 to build on its strengths as a life sciences and material sciences company.
14 hiromasa yonekura, President, Sumitomo Chemical
The head of one of Japan's largest chemical companies, Yonekura was behind the 2005 watershed deal between Sumitomo Chemical and Saudi Arabia's state oil firm Saudi Aramco to build the $10bn (€7.7bn) PetroRabigh refining, petrochemical and plastics project. Due in the first quarter of 2009, PetroRabigh represents the first overseas investment by a Japanese chemical company in the
15 Alexei miller, Chairman, Gazprom
Miller has a PhD in economics from the Leningrad Finance and Economics Institute and served for five years in the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor's Office under Vladimir Putin. He became deputy minister for Energy in the
16 hans udo wenzel, CEO, Azelis
Despite the credit crunch putting pressure on financing from its UK-based private equity owner 3i, under Wenzel's leadership, Switzerland-based Azelis has continued to grow strongly in 2008, cementing its position as
17 GEert dancet, Executive director, ECHA
Anyone taking the top job at ECHA just as the EU's chemical regulation Reach kicked in was never going to be in for an easy ride. Although he is essentially a civil servant, Dancet's profile has grown steadily and he started to engage more vocally with the chemical industry as it struggled with the preregistration period for
18 vitor mallmann, CEO, Quattor
Formerly vice president of Unipar, Vitor Mallmann has been instrumental in the long and complex creation of Quattor, the new Brazilian polyolefins major that from the middle of the year has brought together the nine production plants of Petroquimica Uniao, Polietilenos Uniao, Rio Polimeros and Suzano Petroquimica. In his new role as Quattor's CEO, Mallmann has ambitious plans for the company to compete with domestic rival Braskem as well as on the global stage. Creating a unified results-oriented culture, boosting exports to neighboring Mercosur countries and analyzing opportunities for further investments in
19 Bernardo gradin, CEO, Braskem
The new CEO at
20 klaus engel, Chairman-elect and CEO, Evonik Industries
CEO since 2007, Engel will take over as chairman of the major German chemical and industrial group on January 1, 2009. Engel aims to sharpen the chemical business's focus on innovation and macro societal trends such as energy efficiency. On this front, the company is aiming to develop catalysts for the next generation of biofuels, and investing in photovoltaics and materials to produce batteries for plug-in electric vehicles. In
21 James o'brien, Chairman and CEO,
Under O'Brien's guidance, US-based
22 Zhou JIPING, President and vice chairman, PetroChina
Formerly executive director, Zhou was appointed president and vice chairman in May, succeeding Jiang Jiemin as president in a broad management shake-up. Zhou will direct a number of PetroChina projects underway in
23 Mark Garrett, CEO, Borealis
Since taking over as CEO of global polyolefins producer Borealis in January 2008, Mark Garrett has set up a science and technology advisory board to help bring plastics innovations to the market. With the integration of Agrolinz Melamine complete, a base chemical division has been formed to provide a second leg to the polyolefins business. Garrett has also launched the Water for the World program to find ways in which plastics can provide sustainable solutions to preserving and managing water and sanitation. The goal is to foster local knowledge and partnerships to provide safe water and sanitation for poor urban communities. Completion of the company's 350,000 tonne/year low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in
25 Ben VAN BEURDEN, Executive vice president, Shell
Promoting carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been a major concern for van Beurden this year. Earlier in the year, he called for a push from governments to help stimulate its economic viability: "Carbon capture needs to be part of the solution on climate change," he said. And while CCS technology would continue to become more efficient, "we need incentives from governments to move ahead on the learning curve," he said. Van Beurden is also looking at innovative solutions for adding new petrochemical capacity possibly using new feedstocks, and has signed a deal to extend the Anglo-Dutch firm's presence in
Steve Holland rose from distribution manager at Albion Chemicals, the company created for the 2001 buyout of the Hays chemical distribution business in the
27 Francois Cornelis, Vice chairman, president of chemicals, Total
The two-year reign of French energy giant Total's Francois Cornelis as president of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) ended in October 2008, when he was succeeded by Belgium-based Solvay's CEO, Christian Jourquin. Despite the end of his tenure, Cornelis waded into the growing debate supporting the phased-in auctioning of EU emissions permits, rather than the energy-intensive chemical sector having to buy most of its allowances from 2013. He aired his concerns about full auctioning, noting that it would not be possible to pass the additional costs on to customers. Cornelis also hit the headlines when pledging his continued support for quarterly olefins pricing rather than a monthly system, a debate which has been raging for years.
28 ren jianxin, President, ChemChina
The head of China National Chemical (ChemChina) is creating an international chemical company with global financial management and environmental standards. The company is poised to acquire more assets and has secured investment from private equity firm Blackstone Group. Ren is also president of subsidiary China BlueStar, which he founded with a loan from his employer in 1984 as a teapot and boiler cleaning company. ChemChina has made a series of acquisitions in recent years, including France-based Rhodia's global silicone business, France-based animal nutrition firm Adisseo and Australian cracker operator Qenos. It has bought 100 chemical companies from the Chinese government since 1990 and has won a $600m (€474m) investment from
29 zhou shengxian,
SEPA's upgrade to a full ministry gave it more muscle on existing production facilities and chemical projects approvals, showing a significant shift in Chinese priorities toward sustainable development. SEPA had forced plants to shut or scrap projects in order to help keep to pollution targets, with new project approvals under strong scrutiny for better emission standards. SEPA under Zhou has even rejected projects that may push a city, region or province over emission targets. Looking ahead, Zhou and SEPA's new granted authority will have to manage
30 francois vleugels, CEO, Unipetrol
In 2008, Vleugels continued making excellent progress with the challenge of transforming Czech chemical producer Unipetrol from a nontransparent holding company into a single, dynamic company. When he started at Unipetrol in April 2006, the company had been acquired by
31 John paul broeders, Chairman and CEO, Vopak
Dutch tanker and terminal giant Vopak and its CEO, John Paul Broeders, have enjoyed a pretty fruitful year to date, including a 17% year-on-year rise in net profit for the first half of 2008, and an 18% increase in its third-quarter group operating profit. What's more, he oozed confidence in September that the global financial woes would actually benefit plans for expansion, removing some of the competition when looking at potential acquisitions. Broeders said Vopak's growth had been driven by the need for infrastructure in Asia and the
32 stefan borgas, CEO, Lonza
In his tenure as CEO of Lonza since June 2004, Stefan Borgas has overseen the compelling growth of the Swiss firm into the world-leading fine chemical manufacturer it is today, particularly in the area of biologics manufacturing. In July 2008, the company strengthened its global position in life sciences by acquiring German cell culture technology company amaxa. The acquisition gave Lonza cutting-edge technology in cell discovery. The company also opened a new business unit in
33 joe acker, President, SOCMA
Having led the US-based trade group Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA) for six years and being a former chemical industry executive, Acker brings a wealth of knowledge to the challenge of representing the interests of batch and custom producers in a recessionary economy and a sea change in federal policymaking. Though often small firms, specialties producers face the same daunting challenges as majors, such as energy costs and ever-widening environmental requirements. A year before it appeared in Congress, Acker anticipated eco-labeling legislation and is poised to guide specialties through that and other looming changes. He is now pushing for proper inspections of active pharmaceutical ingredient plants in countries such as
34 james prokopanko, Chairman and CEO, Mosaic
James Prokopanko has overseen spectacular recent earnings growth at US-based phosphate fertilizer producer Mosaic and a strengthening of its financial position. A former Cargill executive, Prokopanko took the helm at Mosaic as president and CEO in January 2007. He took the top jobs at the start of an auspicious time as fertilizer prices rose on the back of revitalized agricultural production and booming biofuel demand. Mosaic mines, manufactures, markets and distributes fertilizers around the world. Prokopanko needs a clear world view: Mosaic is the largest processed phosphate producer with significant equity interest in the rapidly growing markets of
35 Andris Piebalgs, Energy Commissioner, EU
Piebalgs has taken on the challenge of ensuring a stable energy supply for
36 Avraham bigger, Chairman and CEO, Makhteshim Agan
In January 2007, Avraham Bigger began his tenure as CEO of Israel's Makhteshim Agan with a mandate to transform the world's leading producer of generic agrochemicals from a rambling collection of about 40 autonomous operating entities into a cohesive integrated business. He merged operations, replaced much of the management team and streamlined staff, with his immediate objective being to cut costs by $100m (€77.9m) by the end of 2008. To judge from the company's financial results, his efforts are paying off. Sales rose by 26% in the second quarter (Q2) of this year to $682m, while the company posted a 28% rise in its net profit to $69m from $54m. Makhteshim Agan then reported $640.1m in sales for Q3, 28.8% more than the same period a year ago, and net profit rose by 160% to $50.6m.
37 John Bresland,
The new head of the
38 Paul anastas, Yale, and John warner, Warner Babcock Institute
Twenty years ago, "green chemistry" was barely a concept, but today it is a well-developed practice of growing importance. Paul Anastas, director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale, and John Warner (pictured above), president and chief technology officer of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, have played a central role in this sea change, publishing a seminal guide, Green Chemistry: Principles and Practice, in 1998. Arguing that it is better to consider waste prevention during design and development than to dispose or treat waste during production, the authors provided a systematic approach to the problem by identifying 12 fundamental principles, now widely accepted.
39 Michael chertoff,
US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff managed to restore some credibility to the federal government's
40 Judith hackitt,
Hackitt has been campaigning hard on health and safety in the chemical and process industries this year. She organized a conference bringing together leaders from the
Most influential politicians
These statesmen have had a powerful impact on global politics, economics and the chemical industry. How will they play their hands in 2009?
Brown has been at the forefront of global economic rescue attempts, including bank bailouts and fiscal stimulus moves with the G20 group of industrialized and developing nations.
The 44th president of the
He has rallied world leaders to call for action on global warming. In November, he convened the Governors' Global Climate Summit, where 12 other
Vladimir Putin , Russian prime minister
Continues his influence on
Wen Jiabao, Chinese prime minister
From snowstorms to earthquakes from the UN General Assemblyto the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Wen has shown the world that
Czech President and Euroskeptic Klaus blocked adoption of the EU's Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach) legislation by the
The global financial crisis is hitting everyone, but some harder than others. Can those on the ropes make a comeback?
JIM RATCLIFFE INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe's is facing the toughest period in the company's history. The highly leveraged group has asked its banks for headroom on earnings related covenants in the face of the current chemicals slump.
LEON BLACK The Apollo Management principal and cofounder, along with partner Joshua Harris, is the target of a $3bn (€2.3bn) lawsuit filed in
PETER HUNTSMAN In his eight years as presidnet and CEO of the
ROBERT WOOD The Chemtura chairman and CEO faces an uphill battle to conserve cash in the face of the downturn. Wood continues to evaluate strategic options for the company, including divestitures and changes in capital structure. The company suspended its dividend after announcing third quarter results.
New to their top positions, will these head honchos sink or swim in what will no doubt be choppy economic waters?
ONES TO WATCH
New to their top positions, will these head honchos sink or swim in what will no doubt be choppy economic waters?
Ellen Kullman, President and CEO-designate, DuPont
Kullman has been picked to head the US-based specialty chemical giant. Her leadership of two business platforms and two corporate functions put her in the running to become one of the most powerful people in the chemical sector.
HARIOLF KOTTMANN, CEO, Clariant International
The former Hoechst executive took the top spot in October, following the ousting of Swede Jan Secher. His appointment was taken as suggesting "unresolved issues" at the struggling Swiss specialty chemical firm, considered by many to be an acquisition target.
RUDOLF STAUDIGL, President and CEO, Wacker Chemie
Rudolf Staudigl has taken over from Peter-Alexander Wacker at a time when numerous projects were being commissioned from a €700m ($880m) investment program. He also faces integrating two polymer businesses acquired from US-based Air Products.
STEVE PRYOR, President, ExxonMobil Chemical
The new president will oversee major investments in
CAL DOOLEY, CEO, American Chemistry Council
He took command of the American Chemistry Council in September 2008 amid recession conditions and just ahead of Democratic sweeps in the White House and Congress. The former seven-term Democratic Congressman knows well the workings of Capitol Hill.
CHRIS PAPPAS, CEO, NOVA Chemicals
He has been overseeing good financial results, but now needs to manage through a petchem downcycle. Olefins earnings have come off the boil and styrene margins are expected to compress even further, with US export markets under threat.
CHRISTIAN JOURQUIN, President, Cefic
The newly elected president outlined his focus on addressing the unprecedented problems of climate change and scarcity of raw materials.
SHANE FLEMING, Chairman and CEO-elect, Cytec Industries
The newly-apointed head of the US-based aerospace material and specialty chemical group will have to pilot the company through turbulence in the commercial aircraft market and the overall economy.
JORGEN OLE HASLESTAD, CEO, Yara
He became the CEO of Norwegian Yara in September, when Thorleif Enger retired. Haslestad has a lot to live up to with tough times ahead.
MICHAEL LEFENFELD, President and CEO, SiGNa Chemistry
Although some might consider him rather young to be the CEO of the
Out tribute to three industry titans who passed away in 2008. Through their organizations and the many people they affected, their legacies live on
Ting Tsung Chao,
Founder and former chairman Chao (1921-2008) pioneered petrochemicals in Southeast Asia, and entered the
Carolyn Merritt, US Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigations Board (CSB)
former chairman Merritt (1947-2008) was a crusader on chemical process safety. Merritt led the government agency from 2002-2007.
Formosa Plastics founder and former chairman Wang (1917-2008) started building his business empire from scratch in 1954 when he founded Formosa Plastics as a producer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
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