WASHINGTON — The search for a new head of the American Plastics Council could take two to three months, but many details of the process remain undecided, according to APC Chairman Ronald Yocum.
APC President and Chief Executive Officer Red Cavaney announced Sept. 18 that he is stepping down Oct. 1 to take a job as head of the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute, saying at the time that a successor is likely to be named in September or October.
But Yocum, who is also chairman, president and CEO of Millennium Petrochemicals Inc. in Cincinnati, said that ``in all likelihood it will be a two- to three-month process.''
A search committee made up of APC officers probably will conduct interviews with four or five candidates, after an initial list is narrowed, Yocum said. The group is considering hiring a search firm but may talk directly with several candidates APC already has identified, he said.
``We feel we need to interview not just within but outside APC as well,'' Yocum said. ``We have not ruled anyone out, but the probability is greater that we'll hire from outside.''
Besides Yocum, the other officers on the search committee will be: John Peppercorn, APC vice chairman and chairman of the executive committee, and president of Chevron Chemical Co. in San Ramon, Calif.; immediate past Chairman M. Whitson Sadler, president and CEO of Solvay America Inc. in Houston; and Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Finance/Membership Committee Enrique Sosa, also executive vice president, chemical sector, for Amoco Corp. in Chicago.
Yocum declined to identify the potential candidates, but said officers have discussed the search.
``I think we're looking for experience in running and motivating the organization,'' Yocum said. ``Certainly that is one of the skills Red has.''
The new leader will take over a strong organization without any weaknesses to be corrected, he said. Yocum said he flew to Washington Sept. 22 to reassure APC staff about Cavaney's departure.
He said he did not know if APC would be able to find someone with Cavaney's stature to take over the organization.
``The APC is significantly better than it was before Red came to us,'' Yocum said. ``We are organized better. The staff has a clear vision and has bought into that vision. I would attribute that to Red.''
Cavaney was very skilled at keeping APC focused and keeping the politics of the member companies from hurting the organization, Yocum said.
Yocum said the next president will not need to make significant changes to APC's goals: ``I think our charter hasn't really changed — [we] try to make sure that we position plastics as the material of choice in an environmentally sensitive world.''
He also said he does not think APC can have a great impact on boosting sagging recycling rates, and said the organization needs to continue to educate people on the importance of recycling when it is economically feasible.
Yocum praised organizational changes that Cavaney recently made to structure APC around teams that deal with specific market segments or missions.
``This new organization that Red has put in place is just getting going,'' he said. ``It will serve the organization really well, but we need to see it six to 12 months from now.''