Dow Chemical Co. has announced the retirement of industry veteran Ed Gambrell, who was instrumental in commercializing the firm's Insite-brand enhanced polymer technology and was active on many other fronts in his 36 years with the company.
Midland, Mich.-based Dow also announced executive changes related to Gambrell's retirement that will affect polyurethanes, automotive, electronics and research and development.
Gambrell, who will retire in early October, worked on Insite-based products for almost a decade. The technology was mentioned by President Bush earlier this year when Dow was awarded the National Medal of Technology. Gambrell also was instrumental in Dow winning approval for its 2001 merger with Union Carbide.
Most recently, the 59-year-old Gambrell was business group president for Dow's market-facing businesses, overseeing automotive, electronic and biotechnology.
Gambrell interviewed with Dow in Midland the day after he graduated from Texas A&M University in 1966. He was hired as an inside sales representative, selling polyethylene and polystyrene.
``When I first came to work, getting an order for a truckload of material was a big deal,'' Gambrell said in a Sept. 11 telephone interview. ``The plastics market has really grown from primarily being used for disposables to a material that's used longer-term.''
Gambrell admitted his one-company career is a rarity.
``More people are changing companies, and here at Dow we think that's a mistake,'' he said. ``We want to keep good people and not churn them through. We want to be a little different.''
Gambrell is looking forward to moving to his Arizona home and spending more time with his family. After awhile, he said, he ``might look into other things'' - such as consulting or investment banking - ``on a less-than-full-time basis.''
Michael Parker, Dow president and chief executive officer, described Gambrell as ``a key contributor to Dow's drive for increased value growth.''
With Gambrell's departure, Dow is placing its automotive business inside its thermosets unit to maximize polyurethane use in that segment. The move will give Dow veteran Robert Wood, who now leads Dow's thermosets unit, automotive oversight as well.
Other Dow execs with more on their plates will be:
* Richard Gross, Dow's corporate vice president of research and development, also will lead Dow's New Business Growth Board, Growth Center, biotechnology steering team and pharmaceutical technologies.
* David Kepler, chief information officer and corporate vice president of e-business, will handle advanced electronic materials.
* Luciano Respini will oversee global marketing and sales. He now is president of Dow Europe and chairman of the Geographic Council.