Recent changes made by Dow Chemical Co. will affect the leadership ranks of the firm's plastics businesses.
Executive Vice President James Fitterling — who since 2012 had led Dow's performance plastics unit, including polyethylene — now is vice chairman of business operations. In that role, Fitterling will have executive oversight of several Dow businesses, including packaging and specialty plastics, elastomers, electrical & telecommunications, polyurethanes, epoxy, specialty chemicals, chemicals, hydrocarbons, and energy.
Fitterling, 52, also will continue to oversee the carve-out and divestment of the firm's previously announced chlorine, chlorinated organics, and epoxy units. The 30-year Dow veteran also will handle supply chain responsibilities for several Dow businesses in place of David Kepler, who is retiring after 39 years with Dow.
Dow Executive Vice President Joe Harlan has been named chief commercial officer and vice chairman for market businesses. In that role, he'll have executive oversight for Dow's market-driven businesses, including electronic materials, automotive systems, coating materials and building & construction. Each of those units include plastic-related products.
Harlan, 53, had led Dow's chemicals, energy and performance materials — including polyurethane, epoxies, plastic additives and automotive systems — since 2012. He joined Dow in 2011 after a total of 30 years with 3M Corp. and General Electric Co.
Howard Ungerleider has been appointed chief financial officer, replacing William Weideman, who will end his 38-year Dow career at the end of 2014. Ungerleider, 46, has been with Dow for 24 years. He was commercial vice president of the firm's basic plastics business from 2006-08 and president of performance plastics from 2011-12.
In a Sept. 8 news release, Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said that Ungerleider “has been instrumental in transforming Dow to a more market-driven, innovative and technology-led organization.”
A Dow spokeswoman said most of the changes call for the affected executives to “broaden oversight.” The main plastics-related change is Harlan taking over Ungerleider's oversight of Advanced Materials, including coatings and infrastructure solutions and electronic and functional materials.
Fitterling, Ungerleider and Harlan had been in their previous roles since September 2012. Dow named 13 business presidents at that time, including five in plastics business. Four of those five remain in place, with the exception of David Blakemore, who has moved from leading Dow's plastic additives business to a broader role as vice president for Price/Volume/Margin Management and North American Commercial Excellence. Chuck Reardon has served as business president of plastic additives since September 2013.
Dow's four other plastics-related business presidents are Diego Donoso (Polyethylene and Packaging, including PE, specialty films and elastomers sold into packaging), Kim Mink (Elastomers and two other units), Glenn Wright (Polyurethanes and Formulated Systems) and Pat Gottschalk (Epoxy and Performance Monomers).
Midland, Mich.-based Dow ranks as one of the world's largest plastics and chemicals makers, with annual sales of more than $57 billion.
In the first half of 2014, Dow reported total corporate sales of $29.4 billion, up almost two percent vs. the first half of 2013. But the firm's profit fell 34 percent to just over $2 billion in the same comparison. On Wall Street, Dow's per-share stock price began the year around $44 but was at $52.70 in early trading Sept. 11 for an increase of about 20 percent.