Ashland announces CEO transition

Ashland announces CEO transition
Published: 17 October 2019 - 9 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
Ashland announced that the board of directors has elected Guillermo Novo as chairman and CEO of Ashland, effective 31 December 2019. William A Wulfsohn will continue to serve as chairman and CEO through the end of this year to ensure a smooth transition. Following Wulfsohn’s departure from Ashland, the board will be composed of 10 members, nine of whom are independent.

Novo is an accomplished industry executive, bringing more than three decades of specialty materials experience to Ashland. From 2016 to 2019, he served as president and CEO of Versum Materials, a highly regarded semiconductor materials supplier. From 2012 through 2016, Novo worked at Air Products and Chemicals, where he most recently served as executive vice president of materials technologies.

Prior to joining Air Products and Chemicals Novo worked at Dow Chemical Company where he served as group vice president, Dow Coating Materials, a large specialty chemicals business. Earlier in his career, Novo progressed through a variety of commercial, marketing and management positions over the course of 24 years with Dow and Rohm and Haas. In May 2019, Novo was elected to the Ashland board.

Jay Ihlenfeld, lead independent director of Ashland, said: “Guillermo’s election represents the completion of a comprehensive and thoughtful assessment by the board regarding the right qualities and experience for the next leader of Ashland. Guillermo is a seasoned executive who is exceptionally positioned to lead our company and enhance shareholder value, given his deep knowledge of the specialty materials space as well as his years of global leadership and operations experience. Having joined Ashland’s board in May, Guillermo is ready to hit the ground running, and we are confident that Bill and Guillermo working closely together will ensure a seamless transition of responsibilities for all of our stakeholders.”

Ihlenfeld added: “The company has benefited from Bill’s leadership and expertise and we are grateful for his service and contributions toward enhancing shareholder value. As a result, Ashland is now well-positioned with a singular focus on the attractive specialty chemicals market. We thank Bill and wish him all the best in his retirement.”

“It has been a great privilege to lead Ashland over the past five years, and I am proud of what we have accomplished,” said Wulfsohn. “With the support of our hard-working and dedicated team, we have taken aggressive actions to transform Ashland into a leading specialty chemicals company. I believe that it is the right time to transition the company to new leadership, and I am confident that Guillermo will continue to propel Ashland forward.”

Novo stated: “I am honoured to succeed Bill as Ashland’s next CEO and am excited about the opportunity. Today, Ashland has a great business, a clear strategy and a strong team focused on driving results and building on our momentum as an industry leader. I look forward to continuing to work with the board, our experienced management, and all of our team members to advance Ashland’s strategy and create value for our customers and shareholders.

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