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.