Woelfel steps down at Nova Chemicals, Karran named acting CEO

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 1, 2014 2:14 pm ET
Updated: May 2, 2014 12:33 pm ET

Image By: Nova Chemicals Corp. Todd Karran is acting CEO at Nova Chemicals Corp. after nearly 30 years with the company.

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers
Companies & Associations Nova Chemicals Corp.

Longtime petrochemicals veteran Randy Woelfel has stepped down after four years as CEO of Nova Chemicals Corp., one of North America’s largest polyethylene makers.

Woelfel, 59, also will no longer be a board member at Calgary, Alberta-based Nova, officials said in a May 1 news release. He will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Todd Karran, 50, who has been with Nova for almost 30 years. Karran will serve as acting CEO.

Woelfel and the Nova board “felt that this was the time for Randy to move on to new challenges, and to make a leadership change,” Chairman Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi said in the release. Al Qubaisi also serves as managing director of International Petroleum Investment Corp., the state-owned Abu Dhabi firm that bought Nova for $500 million in early 2009.

A Nova spokeswoman said Woelfel and the board “were unable to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement on the terms of a contract extension,” so “both parties decided that now was an appropriate juncture to part.”

Woelfel had been Nova’s CEO since Jan. 1, 2010, when he replaced longtime Nova executive Chris Pappas. Woelfel had spent most of his 37-year petrochemicals career at LyondellBasell Industries and its predecessor firms Basell Holdings, Montell Polyolefins and Shell Oil. Prior to joining Nova, he had been chief operating officer of bioresin maker Cereplast Inc.

The management change was announced a day after Nova reported increased sales and operating profit for the first quarter of 2014. The firm’s sales grew 10 percent to almost $1.4 billion, while operating profit surged almost 19 percent to $344 million.

For full-year 2013, Nova’s sales grew more than 4 percent to almost $5.3 billion. Annual operating profit increased 7 percent to $905 million.

Image By: Nova Chemicals Corp. Randy Woelfel

Nova’s PE business had an especially strong first quarter, as sales grew 12.5 percent vs. the year-ago quarter to $655 million. The unit’s operating profit also more than doubled to $151 million. Higher selling prices for PE played a role in this improvement, even as Nova’s PE sales volume in pounds was down 2.5 percent to 855 million pounds for the quarter.

In late 2013, Nova became the first North American firm to use natural gas-based ethane from the Marcellus Shale Basin to make ethylene. Nova is doing so at its ethylene unit in Corunna, Ontario. The firm also is debottlenecking its LDPE works and retrofitting its HDPE operations in Moore, Ontario Those moves are expected to yield a total annual capacity increase of 300-400 million pounds.

Longer-term, Nova plans to build a new LLDPE plant in Joffre, Alberta by 2016 and an additional PE plant at an undetermined location in Ontario or on the U.S. Gulf Coast by 2020.


Comments

Woelfel steps down at Nova Chemicals, Karran named acting CEO

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 1, 2014 2:14 pm ET
Updated: May 2, 2014 12:33 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Asahi Kasei breaks ground on Alabama compounding plant

September 29, 2014 5:39 pm ET

Asahi Kasei Plastics North America will be able to solve two problems at once with a new compounding plant in Athens, Ala.    More

Image

DuPont shifting Teflon production in China

September 29, 2014 2:35 pm ET

DuPont Co. will spend more than $15 million to improve its fluoropolymer product offerings in China.    More

Image

Sale of PVC maker Oltchim still in limbo

September 29, 2014 10:25 am ET

Fresh attempts to privatize insolvent Romanian PVC producer Oltchim SA have met with new obstacles as the European Union questioned the Romanian...    More

Image

LyondellBasell considering another ethylene expansion

September 25, 2014 1:30 pm ET

Materials giant LyondellBasell Industries — with three ethylene expansions already on the board — is contemplating a fourth.    More

Image

PE, PVC prices rise, PS on the decline

September 24, 2014 4:16 pm ET

North American commodity resin prices bounced around in September, with regional polyethylene and PVC prices increasing while prices for solid polysty...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our industry analysis highlights macro industry trends and micro trends faced by companies that do business in Mexico. The report also provides key industry statistics and forecasts to anticipate future industry expansion.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events