Management reshuffle at green chems

I noticed the blog has been receiving a lot of notices on personnel changes within the renewable chemicals sector this year and the most recent one is Amyris’ top management team announced yesterday.

According to Amyris, three of its management team – the president of global operations Mario Portela,  VP general counsel and corporate secretary Tamara Tompkins, and CTO Neil Renninger — will be departing from the company, although Renninger will remain as member of the board of directors.

Biofuel Digest’s Jim Lane has a very interesting article today about the Amyris announcement.Will the management reshuffling calm investors’ fears (after Amyris’ stock plunge 90% this year since its IPO) or is Amyris’ problems really rooted on the company’s inability to execute technology fast enough? In the article, a Wall Street analyst noted that bankruptcy could even be a realistic scenario.

2012 could certainly become a very challenging year for green chems.  Amyris will announce its first quarter results on May 8, and we will see how their investors will respond to this latest company news.

On the bright side, we can look at Metabolix and Codexis, which had its own management reshuffling done, and both companies seem to be doing good at placating investor fears at the moment.

Codexis, of course, is still looking for its next CEO after Alan Shaw stepped down in February. The company’s CFO Robert Lawson also departed in January. The company has been busy promoting its enzymes and its first renewable chem product – Codexol fatty alcohol. Codexis also recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary since it was first founded as a biotechnology firm focusing on pharmaceutical intermediates.

Codexis will announce its first quarter result on May 10.

Metabolix, seemed to have rebounded fast enough after the company lost its production source when its Telles joint venture with Archer Daniels Midland broke up in January. According to the company’s 1Q 2012 earnings result announced on April 26, Metabolix expects to end 2012 with a cash and investment balance of $48m-50m. The company currently have more than 5m lbs of PHA product inventory available and said that it is in advanced discussions with prospective manufacturing and commercialization partners.

I will write more about Metabolix’s recent activities (which has been a lot) in another post. In the meantime, the company just announced the promotion of its director of strategy and commercial development Max Senechal to VP of biobased chemicals, as Codexis advances its chemicals development. Metabolix also appointed Matthew Strobeck as part of its board of directors in March, and Lynne Brum as VP of marketing and communications in January.

Speaking of (ADM), the company recently announced the hiring of Kyle James to be its general manager of Glycols. James has recently served as business process commercial manager, Industrial Chemicals, and vice president of Telles. Prior to this role, he also served as vice president, ethanol sales at ADM.

James will oversee ADM’s commercial operations of its glycols business including sales of propylene glycol, glycerin, and co-product streams as well as be responsible for feedstock sourcing and supply chain/distribution for the glycols business.

Another recent big management shuffle is from  DuPont Industrial Biosciences where VP of marketing and sales Tjerk de Ruiter has resigned “to pursue other opportunities.” De Ruiter, who was the former CEO of Genencor, joined DuPont Industrial Biosciences in May 2011 following DuPont’s acquisition of Danisco and its Genencor division.

The blog is betting we will see De Ruiter again in one of our regularly covered renewable chemical companies. Stay tune! No, we don’t have any inside information, it just seems like this is what has been happening in the industry lately.

DuPont has also appointed Todd Sutton this month to be the president of DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, which produces biobased propanediol (1,3 PDO) in Loudon, Tennessee.

Other management changes happening in the past 6 months include:

  • Zeachem just appointed this week its new CFO Peter Cheesbrough to replace Andy Vietor, who will remain with the company as VP of Finance. Late last year, Zeachem also added three board members – Nancy Buese of MarkWest Energy Partners, Ross Pilari of CVC Capital Partners, and Charles Shaver of TPC Group.
  • Myriant appointed William Wells and Dhanes Charoensupaya to the company’s board of directors in March, and Norman Augustine in October. The company also announced in January that BASF veteran Werner Praetorius has joined its strategic advisory board, and Susan Hager, formerly of Qteros, is now Myriant’s VP of communications and government affairs.
  • Genomatica appoints Jeff Lievense as Executive Vice President, Process Technology
  • Gevo appoints Ruth Dreessen, Managing Director of Lion Chemical Capital, LLC, to the Board of Directors
  • Former Idaho National Laboratory Scientist Joins OriginOil’s Board of Advisors 
  • BioAmber Strengthens its Management Team and Board of Directors
  • Solazyme Announces Appointment of Mark Warner as SVP of Engineering
  • Virent Board of Directors Welcomes New Member

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