SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 12, 4:50 p.m. EDT) — Dot-com company ChemConnect Inc. has added a top industry executive as it attempts to lure new plastics processors and suppliers into the Internet fold.
San Francisco-based ChemConnect announced Oct. 10 that John Robinson, group vice president of BP Amoco plc, will join the company Nov. 1.
Robinson will take over the chief executive officer post, with current CEO and co-founder John Beasley assuming the role of company chairman.
The move adds a much-needed plastics and chemicals presence to a company attempting to dominate that Web trading space, Beasley said in an Oct. 12 conference call with the principals.
"It was important for ChemConnect to be a centralized part of the fabric of day-to-day operations in the chemicals and plastics industry," Beasley said. "We came to the conclusion that we needed to have someone who spent his entire career in that industry."
Beasley and other top company executives have backgrounds in information technology and other businesses. Robinson, a 30-year industry veteran, has held a variety of positions, including his current stint leading BP Amoco's digital business efforts from his office in London.
ChemConnect clearly wants to target plastics processors, Robinson said.
While chemicals is in its name, plastics has been one of the fastest-rising business segments at ChemConnect, accounting for 40 percent of the dot-com's business, said President Phil Ringo.
The current team, led by Beasley and Ringo, raised more than $100 million to launch the company in 1999. Now, the second stage of what Beasley called a "rocket" is to help further the adoption of e-commerce among plastics companies.
The company's World Chemical Exchange helps partners trade, negotiate price and complete online transactions primarily in the spot market. Companies spend $150,000 for an average resin transaction over the site.
Robinson said that, while at BP Amoco, he has witnessed a mixed bag of Internet adoption among companies. Some major companies have joined the e-revolution aggressively, he said.
"There are others who are following those leaders whom we have to persuade that (e-business) is in their best interests," Robinson said. "Right now, they're watching and following with caution. With my background in the industry, I hope to help show what's in it for them to step up the pace."
The company also plans to step up global plans by entering the Chinese market, the executives said. Other services, including financing and shipping, also are slated.