Corrected: ICIS presents the Top 40 Power Players

07 December 2009 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Please see an amended version of the ICIS Top 40 Power Players. The previous version
was incorrect.


In a turbulent 2009, many leaders guided their companies through rough waters, while others emerged as forces to be reckoned with. We present the global chemical industry's most influential people
Joseph Chang/New York, Will Beacham/London and ICIS reporters

POWER CHANGES hands quickly - andthe shift acceleratesespecially during tumultuous times.

This year, we have some big surprises in the ICIS Top 40 Power Players -some have either made the listing, moved up in it or have fallen from favor. This reflects reversals in fortune, as well as the emergence of new dynamic leaders who will have a huge impact on the industry for years to come.

This is a global list, mirroring the chemical industry. This is a select group of individuals who have changed the sector or are poised to make their mark - through mergers and acquisitions, leadership in policies or actions to enhance financial performance.

The final listing is purely subjective, based on the valued opinions of our more than 120 magazine, news and pricing editors in North America, Europe and Asia. We selected candidates and put them up for debate. A big thanks to the ICIS team for their efforts.

Get to know the movers and shakers in the ICIS Top 40 Power Players. Plus, we present the Ones to Watch in the industry, Top Politicians as well as a new group we'recalling The Future.Keep your eyes on students who could one day be one of the future leaders of the industry. See what they're up to and how they seek to make a difference.

We also opened the polls for readers to vote for the "People's Choice" among selected candidates on our online community site ICIS connect.

The results? Steve Pryor, president of US-based ExxonMobil Chemical, came out as No .1, with 69.4% of the votes. LANXESS of Germany's CEO Axel Heitmann came in second, and the US-based Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris third.

We invite you to a debate on the ICIS Top 40 Power Players on ICIS connect. Thank you for your participation.

New entry
Managing Director, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC)

AS A hands-on leader of a chemical group well on its way to becoming dominant in global petrochemicals, Khadem al-Qubaisi richly deserves this accolade as the ICIS No. 1 chemical industry power player for 2009.

At a time when most in the industry have been hanging on for dear life in the fight for survival, Al-Qubaisi pushed Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC) forward through the acquisition of Canada's NOVA Chemicals in 2009. This has given him the technology to further his ambitious plans for the creation of a world-leading petrochemical hub in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Impressive organic growth is scheduled: 4m tonnes/year of petrochemical capacity at its Borouge facility within two to three years; plus plans to invest in ChemaWEyaat, a $10bn (€6.6bn) petrochemicals development that will boast a 1.4m tonne/year naphtha cracker, which is due on stream in 2014.

He is also very much on the acquisition and joint venture (JV) trail too. IPIC has already built stakes in several companies with chemical interests: apart from NOVA Chemicals (100%), there is Spain's CEPSA (48%); Austria-headquartered polyolefins group Borealis (64%), Austria's OMV (20%) and Korea's Hyundai Oilbank (70%).

The 38-year old has enjoyed a meteoric rise, starting work as an analyst for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority covering oil stocks in 1999 and reaching his current position in 2006.

Asked about his daily routine, he says: "I normally start work at 8am and finish by around 6:00-7:00pm, sometimes later. I manage IPIC but I am also chairman of [Abu Dhabi investment group] Aabar Investments. I have other responsibilties in the local economy."

Al-Qubaisi spends a lot of time at IPIC conducting internal studies and due diligence: "As a board member and MD of IPIC I will discuss opportunities and take the decision whether to buy, divest or establish JVs with these companies. I am also in touch with the management of our companies on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis."

Al-Qubaisi's enthusiasm and determination are evident when discussing his vision for IPIC. "From the beginning, the objective of IPIC was to make money, invest in the local economy and to integrate our acquisitions overseas with our activities in Abu Dhabi. It's very important to bring more opportunities to the economy, to get more people working in the petrochemical industry and to bring more technology here."

He adds: "We are not talking about what our returns will be this year or next year but looking at a 20-year or more horizon. We're not interested in making money and getting out: we're very long-term investors. We have cheap feedstocks but we need to bring technology and experience. If we want to develop something then let's follow the easy path. Let's go to Europe or the US and bring in good companies with good technology to do some JVs and benefit from the cheap feedstocks and close markets."

Al-Qubaisi's ambitions for IPIC are impressive; he aims for it to triple in size over the next five years through acquisitions and organic growth. He wants to increase the firm's production capacity from roughly 10m tonnes/year today to 30m tonnes/year within five years, making it a global leader in petrochemical production.

"I want IPIC to be a multinational hub for the petrochemical industry. I'm looking to grow organically through my companies such as Borealis and NOVA Chemicals - plus through my targets and the establishment of more JVs.

"There will be more plants in Abu Dhabi, plus expansions to existing plants. I'm interested in buying more petrochemical companies worldwide."

During the interview, Al-Qubaisi reveals he is in talks with Germany's Bayer MaterialScience and others, and expects to acquire a major European petrochemical company by the first quarter of 2010.

The news was picked up widely and temporarily sent the BMS share price up by 2%. Analysts say that European groups INEOS and BP Chemicals would also be a good fit for IPIC, which will seek to acquire companies with world-leading market share and technology.

Al-Qubaisi later seeks to downplay his remarks and points out that the talks are about JVs.

He is candid about the shift in ownership and production from Europe and the US towards the Middle East.

"In the Middle East, we've got the feedstocks and markets not far away such as China and the Far East. It's reasonable to assume there will be a shift. In Europe, for example, markets are mature and they have problems with feedstocks. It's better for their big companies to come to the Middle East and benefit from cheap feedstocks."

He says IPIC is committed to maintaining its European manufacturing sites: "Our policy at Borealis is to restructure existing sites, with any expansions happening in Abu Dhabi, not in Europe. That is unless there are unique opportunities for plants such as integrations with oil refineries or availability of cheap feedstocks."

IPIC will allow its acquisitions to maintain their identities and will not merge them, however, Al- Qubaisi insists.

"Different companies have different technologies and different marketing styles. NOVA won't lose its identity as we don't want problems with competition authorities and so on. Everything will remain as it is. We are not thinking about merging or consolidating these companies."

Date of Birth:
September 27, 1971
Education: Bachelor's degree in economics, University of Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Posts Held: 1994-1999: Senior financial analyst, North America, equities department, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2000-2007: Investment management division manager, International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC), Abu Dhabi
Current Assignments: Managing director, IPIC
Chairman, Aabar Investments, Abu Dhabi
Chairman, National Central Cooling Co. (Tabreed), Abu Dhabi
Chairman, Abu Dhabi National Takaful Co. (Takaful)
Chairman, I-Media Newspaper (Alrroya Aleqtisadiya), Abu Dhabi
Chairman, Hyundai Oilbank (HDO), Seoul, South Korea
Board member of: Compania Espanola de Petroleos, S.A. (CEPSA)
First Gulf Bank - UAE, Emirates Investment Authority Aldar Properties - UAE

Car: drives a Mercedes SL65: "I like to drive fast cars: fast cars, fast decisions!"
Favorite book: The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, by Daniel Yergin
Last holiday: St. Tropez, France (July)
Residence: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Family: Married with two boys and one girl
Working day: 8:00am to 6:00-7:00pm, then to the gym and time with family

2008 1st
Chairman, BASF

HAMBRECHT REMAINS a major figure in the industry in Europe, as head of the world's biggest chemical company, and as a participant on the wider stage. He played a leadership role in the European Commission's High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Chemical Industry last year and is active in the International Council of Chemical Associations.

In May, he represented the industry at the second International Conference on Chemical Management (ICCM-2) in Geneva, Switzerland, a forum to promote product stewardship in the chemical sector.

This year has seen Germany-based BASF integrate the Ciba acquisition it made early in the year. The company has made fast-moving restructuring to bring the Swiss specialty chemical business into its existing structure. It expects to be generating cost savings of at least €450m/year ($662m/year) from the acquisition by the end of 2012.

With sales of $87.8bn (€58.3bn), BASF now sits head and shoulders above the other chemical industry leaders, boosted by its strategic shift into oil and gas in the 1990s through Wintershall and other acquisitions.

2008 2nd
Chairman and CEO, Dow Chemical

FROM THE depths of the global financial crisis, Liveris has led US-based Dow Chemical out of danger and brought the focus back onto science-based, market-driven growth.

The acquisition of compatriot specialty chemical giant Rohm and Haas for more than $15bn (€10bn) in cash in April was transformational but costly, as Dow paid a top-of-the market price and took a heavy debt load. Its failed joint venture with Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co. also overshadowed the firm's ability to pay down debt. Dow's stock price fell to a multi-decade low of under $6.00/share in March as the market priced it for disaster. Now it is about $28.00/share.

Liveris divested over $3bn worth of businesses and achieved more than $1bn in structural cost savings. The company paid off its bridge loan and eliminated its high-cost preferred stock taken to finance the Rohm and Haas deal, all while maintaining record research and development spending.

Liveris is now emphasizing Dow's capability to take advantage of key mega trends in health and nutrition, energy, consumer markets, transportation and infrastructure.

President and CEO, Braskem

Bernardo Gradin is speeding up the transformation of Braskem, Latin America's largest chemicals producer, into a global player. The Brazilian company is the prime mover behind many of the major projects planned in Latin America, and has just secured an ethane feedstock supply contract with Mexican state-owned energy group PEMEX for a planned $2.5bn (€1.7bn) ethylene and polyethylene (PE) complex in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Braskem is also developing large-scale projects in Venezuela and Peru, and its Brazilian expansion plans include a "green" PE plant based on bioethanol. The company is in talks with Brazilian competitor Quattor about a possible mega merger. It would then control most of Brazil's plastics chain and PE and polypropylene (PP) output.

Vice Chairman and CEO, SABIC

Mohamed al-Mady has helped to steer Saudi Arabia's Sabic through a difficult 12 months. The company's businesses have been battered by recession. The wisdom of the acquisition of the materials business of US-based GE in 2007 has been questioned. But SABIC has continued to power ahead with Al-Mady as CEO and head of the Sabic management team and a central figure on the local and international stage. SABIC has changed in recent years, but has also looked closely at its roots. It is bringing on stream significant new joint venture capacities in Saudi Arabia. Organizational and operational changes under the One SABIC project came into force on November 1. Meanwhile, US credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service has affirmed SABIC's A1 senior unsecured rating with a positive outlook.

Chairman, PetroChina

PetroChina, through its parent company China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), is in a much stronger crude oil self-sufficiency position than at the start of this decade, thanks to extensive overseas resource rights acquisitions. The economics of PetroChina's rapidly expanding domestic refining and petrochemicals capacity has therefore improved. This sound domestic base - combined with CNPC's continued expansions in exploration and production - could give PetroChina the incentive to become a major overseas downstream player. This year's acquisition of refiner Singapore Petroleum Corp. (SPC) could be a step in this direction. SPC is PetroChina's first major acquisition of a publicly-listed company in Asia. It is still expected to buy and upgrade further assets.

Chairman, Sinopec

China's push towards fuel price liberalization has helped to greatly improve the margins for Chinese energy group Sinopec's refining division, which is heavily dependent on imported crude. Sinopec has been investing heavily in chemicals research and development, and has become a major supplier - both domestically and overseas - of plant engineering and construction skills. As a result, the partially listed, partially state-owned giant (with the same status as PetroChina) has a stronger base from which to expand domestically and overseas. Key to the global chemical industry will be Sinopec's choices on self sufficiency levels over the next few years. China may no longer be the "sink" for surplus production - or the main justification for adding more capacity in regions such as the Middle East.

President, ExxonMobil Chemical

Claiming a mantle of sustainability for ExxonMobil Chemical isn't easy, given the firm's long-standing role as the favorite target for environmental and social activists. It's even harder when Pryor still has to overcome the "petroleum guy" tag among chemical society, as he cheerfully acknowledges. But Pryor is no shrinking violet. As he spelled out in October in a keynote speech to the European Petrochemical Association meeting in Berlin, Germany, Pryor is weaving ExxonMobil's cost discipline and faith in technical innovation into a narrative that portrays profitability and sustainability as complementary. With a strategy focused on feedstocks, lower-cost processes and advantaged products, Pryor is also committed to sticking to the technology script: "If it doesn't fit, we don't do it," he says.

9 Ellen Kullman
CEO, DuPont

Ellen Kullman has had a challenging first year as CEO of major US producer DuPont. Kullman, DuPont's first female CEO in its 206-year history, has unveiled a major restructuring program to address growth opportunities following the economic downturn. DuPont will focus on four mega trends: growing food demand; protecting people and the environment; decreasing dependence on fossil fuels; and emerging markets. The number of business units has been culled from 23 to 14, and several layers of management removed. The restructuring, which follows aggressive cost cuts and productivity improvements, will make DuPont stronger, faster and more agile, she says. Kullman aims to deliver average 20%/year earnings per share growth through 2012 - an ambitious target in any market.

Chairman and CEO, LANXESS

With Heitmann at the helm, Germany's LANXESS has just been awarded the 2009 ICIS Chemical Company of the Year award. LANXESS' management and workforce reacted promptly and effectively to the downturn, and the company achieved its growth and financial targets over the course of 2008, a year ahead of plan. Sales fell by 0.5% in 2008 to €6.27bn (€4.17bn) but, importantly, operating and net profit were up by 50% and 53% respectively, as the company's core businesses expanded in the first half. Cost-saving initiatives took LANXESS back into the black in Q2 of this year, allowing it the flexibility to continue looking for further growth projects, both organic and external. Heitmann sees China as important to growth and LANXESS has strengthened ties with a trade group there.

President and CEO, Huntsman

Head of the eponymous US-based chemical company, Huntsman has put the firm back on a solid financial footing after would-be buyer Hexion Specialty Chemicals (owned by US private equity firm Apollo Management) walked away from the $6.5bn (4.3bn) deal in June 2008. Its stock price fell to around $2.00/share by February 2009, versus Hexion's agreed-upon buyout offer of $28.00/share. But Huntsman's tenacity prevailed in its lawsuits against its would-be buyers, as well as banks Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, which pulled out of financing the deal. The resulting settlements - $1bn from Hexion and Apollo, and $1.7bn from the banks. By August, Huntsman was able to start buying again, putting in a $415m bid to buy compatriot titanium dioxide producer Tronox's assets out of bankruptcy.

President and CEO, Mitsubishi Chemical

The president and CEO of Japan's largest chemical company is on a mission to transform Mitsubishi Chemical by reducing its exposure to commodity petrochemicals and to expand in next-generation businesses, such as lithium-ion battery materials for hybrid electric vehicles. Mitsubishi has moved fast this year to close uncompetitive plants in Japan, restructure its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) business and weigh up strategic partnerships with compatriot rival Asahi Kasei and Chinese energy group Sinopec. Plans include rearranging the feedstock slate to reduce dependence on naphtha in Japan and expanding market share in Asia. And its holding company recently signed a memorandum of understanding for management integration with Mitsubishi Rayon.

President and CEO, Saudi Aramco

Khalid al-Falih has long experience with Saudi Aramco and has run overseas and joint ventures (JVs) for the oil giant as well as the upstream operations and new business development. Saudi Aramco is charged with chemicals development in the Kingdom and Al-Falih has been occupied this year with the inauguration of major refinery and chemical projects. Aramco entered the petrochemical sector in November with the inauguration of the Petro Rabigh refinery and petrochemicals complex venture with Japan's Sumitomo Chemical. Phase II of Petro Rabigh will usher in a new era of domestic value addition and value creation, he said. It has also formed a JV with US-based Dow Chemical - a $20bn (€14bn) complex that will have a petrochemicals production capacity of 8m tonnes/year.

Chairman and CEO, AkzoNobel

Hans Wijers has continued the transformation of the Netherlands-based coatings and functional chemicals specialist this year, following the sale of Organon in 2007 and the purchase of former UK chemical group ICI early in 2008. The economic downturn has posed challenges to the integration, but the company, which is now the largest coatings concern in the world, saw net earnings recover in the third quarter, despite a 10% fall in sales. Margin management and cost restructuring have been high on his list of priorities. Wijers, a former Dutch minister of economic affairs and ex-Boston Consulting Group senior partner, has taken a firm line on extra cost reductions, salary freezes and job cuts, and has scaled back third-party spending and suspended AkzoNobel's share buy-back process.

Chairman, Reliance Industries

After successfully bringing on stream a mega refinery and polypropylene (PP) plant at Jamnagar on the west coast of India and starting oil and gas production from new fields on the east coast of the country, Ambani is actively working on taking Reliance Industries global. The cash-rich company has already made an offer for a controlling stake in Netherlands-based petrochemical major LyondellBasell Industries and, if successful, the combined entity would dominate the polyolefins industry. The deal would also help to make the company more geographically diverse. Meanwhile, Ambani is renewing his focus on India and has said that work will soon begin to add 2m tonnes/year of olefins and matching downstream capacities at Reliance's Jamnagar site.

CEO, Solvay

Christian Jourquin has steered Belgium's Solvay through a year of change and opportunity. The successful sale of its pharmaceuticals business in September 2009 to Abbott Laboratories for €5.2bn ($7.8bn) gives the group money to expand further in chemicals. Solvay can be expected, however, to grow with care. According to Jourquin: "We are building a new, refocused group with the financial means to further accelerate sustainable growth on today's strong foundations." The company is not short of opportunities. In addition to being CEO, Jourquin is also the president of the European chemicals trade group Cefic. In this role, he is helping the European chemical industry tackle the challenges of climate change, the EU's Reach chemical legislation, and the impacts of recession.

President, Mitsubishi Rayon

Masanao Kambara has led Japan's Mitsubishi Rayon to make some major moves this year, with the most recent one being a memorandum of understanding to be acquired by Mitsubishi Chemical. Kambara built up the company, buying UK-based Lucite International in May to become the largest methyl methacrylate (MMA) producer in the world with a strong technology position. Kambara is upbeat about growth prospects for MMA, which accounts for 65% of the company's total business. Among other restructuring moves, the company has exited the acrylic fiber business and strengthened the carbon fiber business by forming a joint venture with German carbon fiber producer SGL Group and entering a strategic business collaboration with US-headquartered specialty chemica group Cytec Industries.

Chairman, President and CEO, Dow Corning

Listed number 91 in's 2009 Most Powerful Women, Stephanie Burns managed to steer US silicones supplier Dow Corning through the economic downturn by continuing its business strategy towards innovation, and incorporating more sustainability-type projects in the company's portfolio. More than 50% of Dow Corning's research and development (R&D) spending is now directed toward projects linked to sustainability and alternative energy, especially the solar market. The company is investing over $5bn (€3.4bn) in increasing its solar materials production and R&D worldwide. Burns has also expanded the company's online silicone business XIAMETER in 2009 by doubling the number of products offered and making them available through distributors for the first time.

CEO, Petrobras

Under Jose Sergio Gabrielli's leadership, Brazilian state-owned energy group Petrobras has steered Brazil's chemical industry in a new direction. A series of restructurings resulted in two large chemical producers: Braskem and Quattor. Petrobras owns large stakes in both. To complete the restructuring process, it is said to be considering a mega merger between Braskem and Quattor. In the meantime, Gabrielli has transformed Petrobras from a national oil company into a major global player. The company has made a significant "pre-salt" oil discovery - expected to make Brazil a major oil exporter by 2015. The discovery should improve petrochemicals feedstock availability. Petrobras said in September it plans to limit foreign investments to current levels as it focuses on local opportunities.


INEOS's reclusive CEO Jim Ratcliffe has had a busy year, overseeing the UK-based company's well-publicized efforts to refinance its hefty debts. Negotiations that began in autumn 2008 were finally concluded in July when a consortium of over 230 banks and institutions agreed to proposals that included the resetting of the company's financial covenants. The company said that its five-year business plan had been reviewed and "stress tested" by banks and their advisers. Meanwhile, INEOS has also been talking to potential investors about its refinery and petrochemical complex in Grangemouth, Scotland. Company sources confirmed it was discussing various growth opportunities at the site - and some sources even report that China's PetroChina was involved in talks.

Chairman and CEO, Ashland

After guiding the US-based chemicals producer and distributor Ashland through the successful acquisition and merger with Hercules last year, chairman and CEO James O'Brien had the unpleasant task of streamlining the company during the recent economic downturn. But in July, Ashland exceeded its initial 2009 cost reduction program of $265m (€176m)by $22m, and then announced a further $100m in cost cuts for the fourth quarter (Q4). These cuts are considered the reason why Ashland showed a fiscal Q4 net income of $93m, compared with a $10m loss in the same period the year before, despite a revenue decline of 5% to $8.1bn for this year. Bright spots for the company were its do-it-yourself segment growing by 2%, and its chain of Valvoline Instant Oil Change stores growing by 8%.

CEO, Hovione

Villax is widely respected for his management of Hovione, the Portuguese manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). But he is just as well known for his outspoken views on the threat posed by poorly regulated API manufacturers in India and China, not only to the competitiveness of European firms, but also to the very quality and safety of Europe's drug supply. A highly visible board member of the European Fine Chemicals Group - a sector group within the European Chemical Industry Council, Cefic - he has made his case in numerous essays and presentations to journalists and even the US Congress. If regulators act to stanch the flow of counterfeit and adulterated APIs into Europe more effectively, Villax will have earned a considerable share of the credit.

President and CEO, PTT Chemical

The Thai state-owned company and its subsidiaries, which have played an important role in the restructuring of the country's petrochemical industry, are on the verge of completing major projects in Thailand that will further consolidate their premier position in Southeast Asia. But Veerasak Kositpaisal faces some major challenges, including ensuring timely start-up of these projects. Environmental concerns at Mab Ta Phut prompted the Thai Administrative Court to halt some 76 projects at the site. The matter is now with the Supreme Court. There had been some concerns that the order, announced in September, would affect the start-up of the company's new 1m tonne/year cracker at the end of this year. However, it maintained that it would start up as planned.

Executive Director, European Chemicals Agency

Dancet leads the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which is responsible for administering Europe's Reach chemical regulation. Although he is a civil servant, Dancet wields a lot of influence over the detail of the implementation of Reach and is therefore a powerful figure. He is so concerned about industry not meeting its 2010 deadline for Reach data submission that earlier this year he launched an awareness campaign with the motto "The clock is ticking. Form your SIEF [Substance Information Exchange Forum] now." He is doing all he can to cajole the industry into acting swiftly as the deadlines approach. Any high-tonnage manufacturer or importer of chemicals in Europe must join SIEFs, which will be responsible for submitting a dossier of substance data to ECHA by December 2010.

Chairman, Access Industries

As the chairman of Access Industries, the owner of LyondellBasell Industries, billionaire industrialist Blavatnik is overseeing the largest US chemical restructuring since Texaco went bankrupt in 1987. The US operations of LyondellBasell filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, a little over a year after it was formed through the merger of Lyondell Chemical with Blavatnik's Basell Industries. However, LyondellBasell's reorganization is proceeding to plan. In April, the company announced a $700m (465m) cost-cutting program, which involves closing 14 sites and shedding 4,800 jobs by the end of 2010. The company is now putting together a stock-for-debt swap - a move that would make LyondellBasell a publicly traded company. Blavatnik could engineer one of the industry's quickest turnarounds.

EU Commissioner for Competition

It has been another busy year for EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes as she continued to clamp down on price fixing in the chemical, pharmaceutical and energy sectors. Only last month, the European Commission imposed a hefty €173m ($260m) fine on 10 chemical firms for their part in a plastics additives cartel. "These companies must learn the hard way that breaking the law does not pay and that repeat offenders will face stiffer penalties," Kroes said of the ruling. This came hot on the heels of fines for seven companies in a steel chemicals cartel, totaling €61m. Besides fining lawbreakers, Kroes campaigned earlier this year for markets to be more competitive to survive the current economic crisis, and launched plans to support the ailing automotive sector in Europe.

CEO, Clariant

Hariolf Kottmann took over as CEO late last year and has been charged with bringing the company back into growth mode. As part of Clariant Excellence, which he instigated, Kottmann has reorganized the executive management structure and added regional responsibilities to executives' divisional and functional roles, reduced staff numbers, and increased the number of business units. Although the company's third-quarter net profit was Swiss francs 25m ($24.9m, €16.6m) - down by 68% year on year - Clariant believes that geographic growth, particularly in China, and investment in the medium term will improve its figures. Kottmann says the company still needs to close the performance gap to its peers and must continue to implement additional restructuring and cost saving measures.

Chairman, DSM

The chairman of Netherlands-based DSM, Feike Sijbesma, was extremely vocal about Europe's lack of renewables investment earlier this year and warned that it had to seriously raise its game to avoid being left behind by other countries, such as the US. Leading by way of example, DSM remains at the forefront of developing renewable-based chemicals and has revised its strategy, moving away from bulk chemicals in favor of innovation and life and materials sciences. Meanwhile, the company has also managed to reclaim the top spot in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, a position it has held for four of the past six years, and was also a winner in the 2009 ICIS Innovation Awards in the Best Business Innovation category with its claryl picture framing glass.

Chairman and CEO, Rockwood Holdings

Through its subsidiary Chemetall, Rockwood controls about 28% of the 92,000 tonne/year global lithium market and is considered one of the Lithium Three - the companies that control the majority of lithium used for batteries. As such, Rockwood is poised for a great leap when electric and hybrid-electric vehicles increase in popularity through commercialization. At an alternative energy conference in June, Ghasemi said: "If the US market were 100% converted to electric vehicles," the company's lithium holdings in Chile "could supply market needs for at least 100 years." But the current economic crisis needs to be navigated through first - Rockwood's net sales were $786.2m (€521.8m) for the third quarter of 2009, down by 10.7% compared with $880.8m for the same period last year.

EU Commissioner for the Environment

Dimas was this year reinstalled as EU Commissioner for the Environment and has been instrumental in pushing through the EU's Reach legislation. He has a lot of direct influence at the political level. He could, for example, consider proposals such as industry pleas for more time to comply. Indeed, in June, he ruled out any extension to the December 2010 deadline for submission of dossiers for registration. There had been concerns about the Substance Information Exchange Forums - groups of producers of the same substance. Dimas told ICIS: "This timeframe has been known about since 2003 and it has been known to industry. I am not aware of any requests from industry for an extension of these times. To extend the deadline, we would have to go to the European Council and Parliament."

Chairman and CEO, Arkema

Le Henaff has been at the helm of France's Arkema specialty chemicals and vinyls company since its creation in September 2004 and saw the company through its stock market spin-off from French energy major Total in May 2006. Since then, he has refocused the group through merger and acquisition activity and site restructuring to create a leaner, more focused concern, with an emphasis on growth through innovation and investment in Asia. It has recently launched carbon nanotubes and self-healing polymer technologies, for example. Le Henaff, who holds a master's degree in industrial management from Stanford University, in the US, also sits on the executive committee of Europe's chemical trade association Cefic, where he is chair of the important Industrial Policy Programme council.

Vice Chairman and CEO, LG Chem

South Korea's LG Chem was a front runner in the latest ICIS analysis of financial performance in the chemical industry, and for good reason. The company that CEO Peter Bahnsuk Kim has run since 2008 has grown rapidly over the past few years since the consolidation of LG Daesan Petrochemical in 2006 and LG Petrochemical in 2007. LG Chem advocates "management by principle" or the "Jeong-Do" management approach and the practice of "Speed Management" - a market and customer-centric drive, the aim of which is to accelerate the speed of strategy execution and organizational culture change. LG Chem's third-quarter net income jumped by nearly 83% year on year to won 543bn ($464m), because of increased demand, particularly for liquid crystal display technology.

President and CEO, LANXESS Corp.

The head of the North American arm of German specialty chemical firm LANXESS is also the chairman of the communications committee at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Dearth has helped lead the ACC's move towards using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs as vital tools to counter opponents and get engaged in the debate, while scrapping its national TV, radio, print advertising and billboard campaign. Dearth has also been vocal on the need for the US to adopt a comprehensive energy plan, including the development of offshore oil and gas resources, as well as clean coal, to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the US chemical industry. His firm was also the recipient of the ICIS Chemical Company of the Year award.

Chairman, Gazprom

Chairman of Russia's Gazprom, Alexey Miller was in the spotlight again early this year after yet another standoff with Ukraine over outstanding payment for natural gas supplies. The dispute saw gas shut off and brought much of Central and Eastern Europe to its knees, highlighting the continent's dependence on Russian supply. Miller negotiated a 10-year deal with Ukraine, including a late payment caveat and a switch to the European price formula. Despite the global downturn, Gazprom is still investing some Roubles 761.5bn ($26.6bn) this year in energy security projects, including two new pipelines. The 55bn m3/year Nord Stream project is expected to begin operating in 2011, with the 63bn m3/year South Stream line scheduled to follow before 2015.

Chairman, Sumitomo Chemical

The head of one of Japan's largest chemical companies is also chairman of the Japan Chemical Industry Association (JCIA). Yonekura will have his hands full dealing with the newly elected Democratic Party of Japan and its aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020. Yonekura's Sumitomo has also made moves to expand its $10bn (€7bn) Petro Rabigh petrochemical joint venture (JV) in Saudi Arabia with state oil company Saudi Aramco, which started up production in the second quarter. The second phase of Petro Rabigh, focusing on derivatives, could start up in 2014. Sumitomo also completed a propylene oxide/propylene glycol (PO/PG) JV with Netherlands-based polymers producer LyondellBasell Industries in September called NOC Asia.

Chairman and CEO, Evonik Industries

Despite a difficult economy and shrunken revenues, Engel has kept Evonik busy and focused on long-term objectives this year. The company continued streamlining, selling the AlzChem Group and closing facilities in Italy and Germany, but it also minimized job losses, collaborating with employees to cut personnel costs, while preparing for recovery - the firm even took on 600 new trainees in November. Evonik also made numerous forward-looking alliances and investments, announcing plans for a €125m ($188m) monosilane plant in Japan; a global methionine expansion; a lithium-ion battery joint venture (JV) with partner Daimler; and an LED glass JV with Taiwan's Cristal Material. It also acquired a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in the US from global pharmaceuticals giant Eli Lilly.

Administrator, US EPA

Perhaps more than any previous Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Jackson could have a profound and wide-ranging impact on the US chemical industry. Under her direction, the EPA is poised to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from autos and, ultimately, any US source. Further, the agency is moving forward with a separate plan to permit or deny new construction or modification for as many as 14,000 power plants, refineries, chemical producers and other manufacturing sites that emit more than 25,000 tonnes/year of greenhouse gases. The EPA has laid out the broad terms for a major overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Jackson is a strong advocate of a federal cap-and-trade emissions mandate, which, if passed by Congress, would give EPA still broader control over US industry.

President and CEO, American Chemistry Council

Calvin "Cal" Dooley served seven terms in the US Congress as a Democrat representing a largely rural and farming district in central California, earning a reputation as a moderate who could bring opposing sides together. This has served him and the ACC well on Capitol Hill, where he has helped raise concern about the impact of climate legislation on energy-intensive industries, building coalitions with broader manufacturing, agriculture and other climate stakeholders. He is credited by EPA officials as an honest and effective advocate in the debate over reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act. He has also nudged legislators towards more reasonable terms on pending renewal of the federal mandate for antiterrorism security at high-risk chemical facilities.

CEO, Borealis

Mark Garrett is steering Austria-headquartered plastics major Borealis through a program of expansion, despite the economic environment. This includes a new low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Sweden and its joint venture Borouge 2 project, which will triple its polyolefins capacity in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, to 2m tonnes/year in 2010. Work has started on the Borouge 3 project, while Borealis is participating in ChemaWEyaat, a chemicals complex in Abu Dhabi. Garrett's influence will be felt in North America where he has joined the NOVA Chemicals board. The "Water for the World" program by Borealis and Borouge, has resulted in 30,000 people in India gaining access to safe water.

Group Managing Director, Contract Chemicals

Tony Bastock is one of Europe's most influential chemical CEOs. He runs a comparatively small firm, Contract Chemicals, with sales of around £20m ($33m, €22m), but Bastock has consistently punched well above his weight. He has shown the kind of influence small and medium-sized enterprises can develop with a go-getting owner. Most recently, Bastock chaired the appointment committee at Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Federation, which appointed Hubert Mandery as Cefic director general, effective 2010. He also won the UK's Chemical Industries Association Chemical Industry Leadership Award in 2008. Bastock, is a strong supporter of initiatives aimed at getting young people interested in chemistry.


CEO, Shell

As CFO, earlier this year, he announced that the company was due for major upheaval. Since he became CEO, 5,000 employees have left as part of cost-cutting measures. Voser signed in November what could prove a landmark deal with Qatar petroleum on access to feedstocks for the companies' Singapore ventures.

CEO, Bayer

His appointment as CEO for German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer from October 2010 has people speculating on what his health care background signals for the future of the company. He comes from US laboratory equipment manufacturer Thermo Fisher Scientific, and has experience in carrying out major acquisitions.

Chairman, President and CEO, Chemtura

Coming into a company in turmoil, the former head of US specialty chemicals firm Hercules will need all his might to lead Chemtura out of bankruptcy. Rogerson has set an aggressive timetable for Chemtura's emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by March 2010. He is restructuring the company's organization, cutting costs and considering asset sales.

CEO, Spolchemie

Vleugels' swift departure as head of Czech group Unipetrol earlier in 2009 was followed by his appointment as head of compatriot chemical group Spolchemie. He has a tough job to do there as the company, overburdened by debt, has been forced to turn all its assets over to lending banks and has laid off one-fifth of its 900-strong workforce. Vleugels has instigated a rescue plan.

Founder, Khosla Ventures

Khosla likes to disrupt large existing markets or look for a lucrtaive potential market with a credible path to grow. Either way, startup green chemistry companies might just fit the bill. He is currently pouring money into companies involved in biorefineries, life science and renewable energy.

President and CEO, Eastman Chemical

CEO as of May 2009, Rogers has a challenging task ahead to lift Eastman from a rough economic battlefield. Former CEO J. Brian Ferguson has said the company is well positioned to weather the storm, especially under Rogers's leadership. Eastman's third quarter (Q3) net earnings of $101m (€67m) were nearly unchanged from $100m in the same quarter last year. Rogers said he expects Q4 results to be negatively affected by volatility in raw material and energy costs and a seasonal decline in sales volume.

President and CEO, Sinochem

China's fourth largest state-owned oil company and leading supplier of chemicals is gradually emerging from the shadows of Sinopec and PetroChina to carve out a global presence. This year has seen Sinochem place a $2.4bn (€1.6bn) bid for the Australian agrochemicals producer Nufarm which should help it realize its ambition of being among the top global producers of crop protection chemicals. In the energy space, Liu ensured that Sinochem successfully completed an $878m takeover of UK oil company Emerald Energy in August. And the company is now waiting for the result of a $320m bid for an independent oil company in Kazakhstan.

CEO, ChemaWEyaat

Abu Dhabi's ambitious plan for developing a new petrochemicals hub at the Khalifa Industrial Zone is being spearheaded by Mohamed Al-Azdi, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Chemicals (ChemaWEyaat). Preliminary work has started on the first phase, which is expected to be the world's largest grassroots integrated complex, with a total capacity of 7m tonnes/year of olefins, aromatics and ammonia derivatives. The $10bn (€7bn) complex is due on stream in 2014. Several more integrated plants have also been planned to fully utilize Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates' gas and liquid feedstocks.

Director General, Cefic

Mandery took the reins of the European chemical trade body in October, when the industry was suffering as a result of the recession and coming to grips with new European legislation. The former head of BASF South Africa, Mandery has been involved with product safety, regulatory affairs, economic relations and trade policy with the chemicals giant.

Art Harper
Managing Partner, GenNx360 Capital Partners

With the newly acquired specialty silicones business SiVance, GenNx360 plans to establish a growth platform on which to make further specialty chemical acquisitions. This is the private equity firm's first investment in specialty chemicals, and it plans to commit an additional $50m-$100m (€33m-99m) equity. Harper said the company will aggressively look seek to build on the specialties business through acquisitions and core growth.


Angela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany

Angela Merkel leads a powerhouse in the global chemical industry. She won her Christian Democratic Party a second term with an enhanced majority and is ruling in a coalition with the politically similar Free Democratic Party. She has negotiated tax cuts, but looks to have a range of problems to surmount as Germany struggles with depressed export markets. She is married to a chemistry professor.

US President

The 44th president seeks to lead and oversee climate-change policy, which will have wide implications for the chemical industry and its markets. Obama is also making a big push towards alternative energy sources and could spur the widespread use of electric vehicles. He is a controversial figure for the industry, which expresses major concerns on his policies.

Yukio Hatoyama
Prime Minister of Japan

His party's landslide victory this year created waves around the world. Yukio Hatoyama has promised to bring much needed changes to Japan and revitalize the economy at a time when it is struggling to overcome recessionary forces and rising unemployment. The charismatic Hatoyama has promised to work on boosting household incomes and domestic demand to wean Japan off its dependence on exports.

Chinese Premier

The economic crisis has put China in a stronger position. Its economy has become even more important for sustainable global growth. The premier faces the challenge of shifting the economy away from export and investment dependence through boosting domestic consumption. Dealing with the West's fears over competition for hydrocarbon resources could also be another task.

Hugo Chavez
Venezuelan President

Hugo Chavez holds a tight grip on his country's vast oil and gas resources, and intends to nationalize the chemical sector. He has ambitious plansto expand Venezuela's chemical production, but these are threatened bya lack of cash and technological know-how, and therefore are likely to depend on joint ventures with internationalconglomerates. State-owned producer Pequiven is already developing polyolefins projects in Venezuela with Brazil's Braskem.


Adebola Adeniran
American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholar

A chemical engineering junior at Columbia University in New York, US, Bola is a recipient of the ACS Scholars Program, which provides renewal scholarships to students from groups that have historically been underrepresented in science. Bola developed a strong interest in applied math and chemistry in high school, and soon hopes to earn a PhD focusing on pharmacology and drug discovery after enjoying a summer research stint helping develop a new cholera vaccine at the Sackler Institute of Tufts University, in Boston.

Bola is also interested in global health and plans to take one year off to do internships on research projects for neglected diseases abroad before jumping into graduate school. Long-term, she plans to work for a pharma company.

Hitesh Sahni AND Akash Gupta
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)

Information technology rules in India and is a favorite choice for students. But Hitesh Sahni (above, left) and Akash Gupta, both students at the IIT in Mumbai, are keen on pursuing a career in chemicals.Sahni admits that chemical engineering was not his first choice, but he is convinced he made the right decision. He has already researched the modeling of bubble growth in polymethyl methacrylate/methyl methacrylate reactors. Gupta believes that the chemical industry offers many opportunities. He has completed an internship at Unilever Research India, where he explored new ways to break oil or water droplets to create emulsions. He also interned at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

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By: Joseph Chang
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