If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



ACC Launches a Revamping

American Chemistry Council to eliminate 41 jobs and focus on selected issues

by Michael McCoy
December 12, 2005 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 83, Issue 50


Chemical Industry

The American Chemistry Council is embarking on restructuring intended to strengthen its capability as an advocacy organization. The changes, which come five months into the tenure of Jack N. Gerard as CEO, include the elimination of more than 40 jobs and a focusing of the association on a group of core issues.

Gerard joined ACC, the U.S. chemical industry's primary trade association, from the National Mining Association. His predecessor at ACC, Gregori Lebedev, left the post after less than two years amid criticism and defections from the association.

Gerard says the restructuring is being undertaken with input from ACC staff and member companies. "Since joining ACC five months ago, I've had the chance to understand the industry's concerns and priorities," he says. "I am now aligning our organization to meet these goals."

Credit: ACC Photo
The multi-million-dollar essential2 public outreach campaign was launched in September.
Credit: ACC Photo
The multi-million-dollar essential2 public outreach campaign was launched in September.

ACC will reorganize from a group with 13 vice presidents to one with five who will oversee what Gerard calls its core functions: general advocacy, including government and regulatory affairs; the ChemStar program of product-specific advocacy; public communications; finance and information technology; and industry performance, including Responsible Care and the industry's Long-Range Research Initiative. ACC is searching for executives to fill the communications and general advocacy positions.

Forty-one jobs will be eliminated out of 265 across ACC, including those of five senior staffers that were previously announced (C&EN, Dec. 5, page 35). Some of the cuts will come from integrating the Chlorine Chemistry Council and the American Plastics Council, whose heads are both leaving, more closely into ACC.

In addition, Gerard says he is considering relocating the group's headquarters from Arlington, Va., to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., a move he made at the mining association. "As an advocacy organization, we want to be in the thick of things," he says.

According to Gerard, ACC will focus on six issues in 2006: natural gas, plant security, health and regulation, the environment, rail competition, and legal reform. He won't identify areas in which the association is cutting back but notes that the member companies themselves are best suited to carry out certain day-to-day activities. "We will provide a collective effort where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts," he says.

Gerard says he is enthusiastic about ACC's other big ongoing project: the multi-million-dollar essential2 public outreach campaign that was launched in September. Television advertising started immediately, and print ads are about to roll out, he says. ACC will later conduct an evaluation of the campaign's success in improving public awareness of the industry's contribution to modern life.

Three major companiesHuntsman Corp., Chevron Phillips Chemical, and Lyondell Chemicalleft the association during Lebedev's tenure, and Gerard says he is committed to getting them back while also recruiting new members. Already, he says, one-time members Velsicol and Texas Petrochemicals have returned to the association and a third company is in the process of rejoining.

Don H. Olsen, a senior vice president at Huntsman, calls the restructuring a step in the right direction. One reason Huntsman left, he says, was ACC's failure to take the same belt-tightening steps taken by the industry it serves. "The other main reason we left was advocacy, or the lack thereof," Olsen says. "The jury is still out on that one."

Olsen says Gerard is a "terrific guy who has the best chance ever of making the ACC an effective trade association." In this era of high costs for natural gas and other forms of energy, however, he cautions that Gerard will have a difficult time leading an association whose members include energy producers as well as energy consumers.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.