Norman Alexander, who built Ampacet Corp. into one of the world's largest color and additive concentrate makers, died Dec. 26 at age 92.
He had been sole owner of Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Ampacet since 1954, when he bought the firm - then known as American Molding Powder Co. - from plastics pioneer Anton Bamberger and other investors. At the time, Alexander also owned Ansbacher-Siegle Co., a New York-based pigment maker that had been one of Ampacet's suppliers.
American Molding Powder had opened in a New York warehouse in 1937 as a recycler of acetate used in nylon stockings. The material then was converted into parachutes for U.S. paratroopers and into early plastic products like injection molded combs and toys.
Today, Ampacet has annual sales of more than $650 million and employs 1,400 at 17 locations worldwide.
In a news release, Ampacet President and Chief Executive Officer Robert DeFalco said Alexander was ``an inspiration to all of us, and his presence will be sadly missed.''
Although Alexander was not involved in Ampacet's day-to-day operations, he always was very aware of the company's direction, according to Chief Financial Officer Joel Slutsky. Over a 35-year Ampacet career, Slutsky said he got to know Alexander fairly well.
``Norman was a very astute business person, very compassionate and very smart,'' Slutsky said in a phone interview. ``His focus was on growing the company. It was a nurturing relationship.''
In a 2002 interview, DeFalco said Alexander ``hasn't taken any money out of [Ampacet]. He's reinvested in it and wants to see it continue to grow.''
Ownership of Ampacet will remain with the Alexander family. Two of Alexander's children - Mark Alexander and Gail Binderman - serve on the board of directors. Norman Alexander, a resident of Scarsdale, N.Y., also is survived by his wife, Marjorie.
He also had served as executive chairman of Sequa Corp., a New York-based industrial conglomerate that posted sales of almost $2 billion in 2005. Sequa employs 9,700 and operates businesses in aerospace, automotive, metal coating, specialty chemicals, industrial machinery and other products. Alexander was the firm's largest shareholder and was its CEO until 2005.
Alexander's involvement with Sequa also stretches back more than 50 years. Sequa officials described Alexander as ``one of the longest-tenured chief executives in American industrial history.''
Alexander also served as chairman of Chock full o'Nuts Corp., a coffee maker that had annual sales of $350 million when it was sold to Sara Lee Corp. in 1999.