Major plastics investor Pritzker Private Capital has formed an advisory board that includes former PolyOne Corp. and Univar Solutions CEO Stephen Newlin.
In a May 27 interview with Plastics News, Newlin said that the advisory board for Chicago-based PPC "really is about adding on to great capabilities that [PPC] already has."
"We can advise on investment strategy and identify companies that [PPC] might want to pursue from a cultural standpoint," he added. "It's important for company cultures to be a good fit."
Newlin led a turnaround at Avon Lake, Ohio-based compounding leader PolyOne from 2006-14. He then held the top spot at Downers Grove, Ill.-based Univar, a global chemicals distributor, from 2016-18.
"I think that as a member of the board, I can share some of my experiences and provide counsel," Newlin said.
PPC's holdings include major plastics firms Plaskolite LLC of Columbus, Ohio; ProAmpac of Cincinnati; and Technimark LLC of Asheboro, N.C. Plaskolite is a leading sheet producer, while ProAmpac is a major maker of flexible packaging and Technimark is a major player in injection molding. Those three firms had combined North American sales of almost $2 billion in 2018, according to industry estimates compiled by PN.
PPC Chairman and CEO Tony Pritzker will serve as chairman of the board. Its other members include Newlin, who has more than 30 years of plastics and specialty chemicals experience, along with:
• Matthew Cook, former CEO of foodservice packaging maker LBP Manufacturing.
• Ruby Chandy, former president of the industrial division of filtration supplier Pall Corp.
• J. Phillip Holloman, former president and chief operating officer of Cintas Corp., a provider of uniforms and other business supplies.
• Alan Muney, former chief medical officer of health insurance firm Cigna Corp.
• Doug Ray Oberhelman, former chairman and CEO of construction machinery leader Caterpillar Inc.
• David Steiner, former president and CEO of Waste Management Inc., a waste disposal firm that also ranks as one of North America's largest plastics recyclers.
PPC executive Michael Nelson said May 27 that PPC "is different from traditional private equity — we don't focus on buying a business flipping it in three or four years."
"We'll hold on to a business for as long as it makes sense," said Nelson, a PPC partner and head of the firm's manufactured products and services investing unit. "We're trying to pull an oar alongside our management teams."
He added that the advisory board will be able to help PPC evaluate new investments, as well as help its existing companies build their networks. PPC now is looking to add to its business units while also looking for potential new platforms, Nelson said.
Like many investors and manufacturing firms, PPC has been navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjustments have included video meetings with management teams on Zoom.
"I'd like to give a huge thank you to our Pritzker employees, who have done an incredible job in this challenging period," Nelson said. He added that although current times are challenging, they may allow PPC to make investments in "good companies that need liquidity."
"We're focusing on trying to be helpful," Nelson said. "We're planting seeds, and when things improve we'll be there."
PPC also is maintaining its efforts on sustainability. Nelson said that 40 percent of ProAmpac's revenue comes from recyclable products and that Technimark operates its own captive recycling on site.
"Sustainability may take a short pause [because of COVID-19], but it's not going away," he said.
Newlin added that the crisis has highlighted the ability of plastics and chemicals firms to make needed products like hand sanitizer and acrylic sheet for safety shields.
"Well-run companies focus on sustainability," he said.