GE Plastics making major staff changes

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John Krenicki hasn't wasted much time in reshuffling the executive deck at GE Plastics.

Krenicki, who replaced Yoshiaki Fujimori as GE Plastics' president and chief executive officer in January, announced three significant changes to the unit's management team March 19.

Hank Reeves will replace Gerry Podesta as vice president of GE Plastics Americas. In that role, Reeves will oversee the GE Polymerland resin distribution business, as well as GE Plastics' efforts in shape distribution, custom coloring and sheet making.

``The business environment in the Americas is one of the toughest we have ever seen for the plastics industry,'' Krenicki said in a March 19 news release. ``Hank's proven commercial leadership, as well as his strong financial expertise, will be a great benefit to us as we manage the challenges and opportunities of driving growth in the Americas.''

Reeves, 43, is a 15-year GE veteran who most recently served as chief commercial officer for GE Mortgage Insurance. He'll work out of GE Plastics headquarters in Pittsfield, Mass.

Podesta, who was in his 20th year with GE, ``left to pursue opportunities outside the company,'' GE officials said. Podesta had been instrumental in GE Plastics' e-commerce efforts, running that side of the business from 1999 until being promoted to the Americas post. GE Polymerland, one of North America's largest resin distributors, took almost 60 percent of its orders via the Internet in 2002.

Krenicki also appointed Andre Horbach as vice president of the newly formed GE Plastics Automotive unit and named Golnar Motahari-Pour, 46, to replace Horbach as vice president of GE Plastics Europe.

Horbach, 40, had held his prior post since last year. The 15-year GE veteran will be based in Bergen-op-Zoom, the Netherlands.

Motahari-Pour spent the last three years of her 10-year GE career as president and chief executive officer of GE Consumer Products Europe. She also will be based in Bergen-op-Zoom.

``The plastics industry today is facing one of the most challenging periods ever in terms of global economic conditions, competitive pressures and the speed of new product and application development,'' Krenicki said in the release. ``Businesses that will succeed in the face of such challenges are those with a solid, experienced leadership team.''

GE Plastics ranks as one of the world's largest makers of polycarbonate, ABS and other specialty resins. The unit's profit dropped 28 percent to $843 million in 2002 as sales stayed in the $5.2 billion range.

In 2002, GE Plastics represented about 4 percent of sales and 6 percent of profit for parent General Electric Co. of Fairfield, Conn.