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Comment: ACS has hired a new CEO

by Paul Jagodzinski, chair, ACS Board of Directors
January 12, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 2


Paul Jagodzinski.
Credit: DS Photo
Paul Jagodzinski

The American Chemical Society’s search for a new CEO is now complete, and we have hired Albert G. Horvath. He was the treasurer and chief financial officer of ACS until Jan. 1, when he started his new duties as CEO. An interim appointment will ensure that Horvath’s previous duties are handled without disruption. A national search for a treasurer and CFO has already begun.

The ACS Board of Directors had a well-defined process to search for ACS’s next CEO. A subset of the board reviewed the previous description of the position and modified it for this search to emphasize the complexity of ACS—taking into consideration member needs, shared governance, and international businesses in the Publications Division and CAS—and our mission, vision, and core values.

A different subset of the board selected Korn Ferry, a search firm well acquainted with ACS, to assist us. In addition to advertising the position, the company contacted an extensive network of organizations and individuals to solicit recommendations and applications from highly qualified individuals.

The board appreciates that many members and friends made our search widely known among their networks and encouraged qualified candidates to apply. We asked for your help, and you delivered! A well-qualified and diverse set of applicants was assembled.

I believe that you’ll agree that Horvath is well positioned to lead ACS.

The entire board developed a confidential ranked list of the styles that are best suited for the CEO of ACS. A subset of board and executive leadership team (ELT) members reviewed résumés and developed a list of semifinalists. A different subset of board and ELT members carefully reviewed the materials of the semifinalists and developed a list of finalists. In early November, ELT members and the complete board conducted in-person interviews and extensively vetted these individuals. The board identified Horvath as the candidate most qualified for the position.

Recruiting and hiring the next CEO was the most important service to ACS that the board engaged in during 2022. We embraced this responsibility and ensured that we had a diverse applicant pool, that every applicant was treated equally, and that we hired the best applicant to fill the position. ACS and its members demanded nothing less from the board.

Over the past 8 years, Thomas Connelly provided leadership guided by dedication to our mission, vision, and core values and concern for members, volunteers, staff, and friends of ACS. He was a champion of our new membership model. And he guided the society through unprecedented challenges during the past several years, including a global pandemic that affected all components of ACS, including meetings, CAS, and the Publications Division. He also balanced productivity and safety in the workplace during very uncertain times. ACS is stronger than it has ever been, and I thank Connelly, on behalf of all of us, for his leadership.

This is not to say that ACS is without challenges. We must increase the value that we provide to members, both domestic and international, at all stages of their careers. We must ensure that our meetings deliver value to all attendees as we navigate a hybrid environment. We must provide ACS employees with a work environment that is suited to them and is best for ACS. We must continue to invest significant resources to protect our data from cyberattacks. And we must address the Office of Science and Technology Policy mandate for open access of our publications beginning Jan. 1, 2026.

Myriad challenges face ACS and all organizations as large and complex as ACS. All of Connelly’s hard work positions us to face these challenges, and Horvath is ready to take up the mantle. I encourage you to read the press release detailing his experiences at Columbia University, the Pennsylvania State University, the California Institute of Technology, and the Smithsonian Institution, among others. He understands and has operated at the highest levels in large, complex institutions. I believe that you’ll agree that Horvath is well positioned to lead ACS.

Horvath will be present at the upcoming ACS Leadership Institute in Atlanta and at ACS Spring 2023 in Indianapolis. He will attend local section and regional meetings so he can visit locations where ACS members live and work. He is looking forward to expanding his network of ACS leaders and developing new relationships. Seek him out and welcome him to his new role.

Thanks for all you do for ACS. We’re all in this together!

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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