By David Eldridge
Cologne, Germany -- The UK’s possible exit from the European Union – so-called Brexit – following a referendum in June would be “completely stupid”, according to Patrick Thomas, ceo of German polymer group Covestro.
Speaking at the group’s first financial results press conference in Cologne on 23 February, British-born Thomas said: “In terms of Brexit, I guess I’m with the 99 out of 100 FTSE ceos in believing an exit from Europe would be completely stupid – I think that’s probably the right word, it’s a strong word but it’s true.
“Everybody says 99 out of 100 FTSE CEOs believe that to be the case, but no-one will tell you which one is pro-Brexit. I haven’t managed to find out yet, but I guess his business is entirely in the UK and is not on an international basis.”
Thomas has headed the polyurethanes and polycarbonates major, previously Bayer MaterialScience, for 10 years, and led its spin-off from Bayer Group and flotation on Frankfurt Stock Exchange in October 2015. He is also president of Brussels-based trade organisation PlasticsEurope, and was a non-executive director at UK oil and gas company BG Group until its recent takeover by Shell.
Thomas was also critical of the political manoeuvring that has emerged in the UK around the Brexit issue. He said: “I saw somewhat with dismay the TV coverage that the mayor of London [Boris Johnson] has decided to switch his support to Brexit, which I can only assume he is going to try to differentiate himself from the prime minster [David Cameron, who is campaigning in the referendum for the UK to stay a member of the EU] and try and put himself up for the job in the future.
“Who knows? Maybe that’s one of the more reliable pieces of forecasting that comes out of the UK political scene; that Boris Johnson will run for prime minister. But let’s see where it goes. I really hope, and I think what you will see in the end is a vote against exiting.”
This story first appeared in UTECH-polyurethane.com's sister publication Plastics News Europe and is available on the website.