In step with its role as a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, materials firm PolyOne Corp. has named Walter Ripple to the newly created position of vice president of sustainability.
Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne also recently appointed Christopher Pederson as senior vice president of its specialty engineered materials (SEM) unit.
Ripple has almost 30 years of plastics industry experience and has been with PolyOne since 2008, most recently as SEM vice president and general manager. In his new position, Ripple is responsible for leading initiatives that help customers and PolyOne achieve sustainability and performance goals, officials said in a news release.
He "will play a crucial role ensuring these efforts are aligned with the dynamic changes in the industry, emerging innovation and the shared responsibility of taking care of the planet," they added.
PolyOne Chairman, President and CEO Robert Patterson said that Ripple "has a broad understanding of our specialty technologies and their value-generating applications … [and] is uniquely qualified for this important role, which will further accelerate our sustainability efforts."
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste is an industry group that launched earlier this month. PolyOne is one of almost 30 companies that have pledged more than $1 billion to help tackle the ocean plastics problem. Alliance founders include companies all along the plastics value chain.
"This new organization will be instrumental in bringing collective action and scale to help eliminate plastic waste from the environment," Patterson said.
Pederson replaces Michael Garratt, who had led SEM on an interim basis since the departure of Craig Nikrant in April. Garratt now will resume his prior position as chief commercial officer for PolyOne. The SEM unit posted sales of just over $624 million in 2017.
Pederson has more than 25 years of experience in engineered materials, including stints at Boeing and Cytec. Most recently, he served as vice president of strategy for Hexcel Corp. In those roles, PolyOne officials said that Pederson "has leveraged both his highly technical expertise and [profit-and-loss] business leadership to great success."
In an email to Plastics News, Pederson said he welcomes his new role as an opportunity to build on and grow PolyOne's capabilities to serve customers.
"What's exciting about our full engineered materials portfolio is its breadth and strength in helping customers overcome their challenges with the polymer or composite solution that makes the most sense, regardless of its chemistry," Pederson said. "Couple this with our design, service and color offerings, and I believe we'll continue to exceed customer expectations in both the short and long term."
In a news release, Patterson said that engineered materials "remain at the core of our specialty portfolio and key technology platforms for growth in the future."
In 2017, SEM was the smallest of PolyOne's four operating units, generating 18 percent of total sales. Its product mix includes high-performance compounds based on engineering resins and thermoplastic elastomers.
PolyOne is North America's largest compounder and concentrates maker and one of the region's largest resin distributors, according to Plastics News data. The firm posted full-year sales of $3.2 billion in 2017.