By Frank Esposito, Plastics News Staff
Midland, Michigan -- Dow Chemical Co. recently rearranged its leadership structure, forming a new executive committee. The chemicals group has now named its business presidents.
Five of the 13 new business presidents have oversight of plastics businesses. They are:
Glenn Wright, business president for Polyurethanes and Formulated Systems.
Diego Donoso, business president for Polyethylene and Packaging, including PE, specialty films and elastomers sold into packaging.
Kim Mink, business president for Elastomers and two other units.
David Blakemore, business president for Plastics Additives and two other units.
Pat Gottschalk, business president for Epoxy and Performance Monomers.
Liveris addressed the corporate management changes in a 5 Sept news release, saying that "moving forward, we must accelerate our speed of commercialisation, and significantly increase revenue and margin growth."
"With less structure at the top of the company and more deployment and implementation in the markets, this is the optimal structure for the next phase of our strategy," he added.
The business presidents will focus intensely on generating increased earnings, and accelerating the advancement and execution of Dow's strategy within their businesses, officials said in the release.
Dow ranks as one of the world's largest plastics and chemicals makers. In 2011, the firm posted sales of just under $60 billion, up almost 12 percent compared with 2010.
The first half of 2012 had its share of ups and down for Dow, both corporate-wide and in its plastics businesses. Total first-half sales fell 5 percent to $29.2 billion when compared to the year-ago period. Profit fell 28 percent to $1.3 billion in the same comparison.
Dow's two most plastics-heavy units - Performance Plastics and Performance Materials - generated 48 percent of Dow's sales and 50 percent of operating profit in the first half of 2012.
The firm earlier this year selected Freeport, Texas, as the site of a new plant making ethylene, a key plastics feedstock. The cracker will be part of an overall investment of $4 billion in Dow's ethylene and propylene production in the Gulf Coast. The unit is expected to open in 2017 and will employ 2000 at the peak of construction.
The Freeport complex already ranks as Dow's largest integrated manufacturing site worldwide and the largest single-company chemical complex in North America.
But a weak European economy also led Dow earlier this year to cut 900 jobs worldwide and close at least four plants making expanded polystyrene foam and polyurethane feedstocks. The closures will affect plants making Styrofoam-brand EPS foam in Charleston, Illinois; Estarreja, Portugal; and Balatonfuzfo, Hungary. Dow also will temporarily idle a Styrofoam plant in Terneuzen, Netherlands.
A plant making PU feedstockTDI (toluene diisocyanate) in Camaçari, Brazil, will be closed as well. Unspecified consolidations also will affect Dow's global PU and epoxy businesses. The closings and cuts will be phased in over the next two years. The firm also will cancel several capital projects.