Web Date: July 7, 2008
Bernardo Gradin Will Head Braskem
Brazilian chemical maker Braskem has appointed Bernardo Gradin as CEO. He replaces José Carlos Grubisich, who led the firm during the past seven years in its efforts to consolidate Brazil's complex petrochemical industry. Grubisich will now head ETH Bioenergia, a year-old bioenergy firm owned by Braskem's controlling shareholder, the Odebrecht Organization.
Since 1987, Gradin, a civil engineer with an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has worked for Odebrecht in a variety of positions. He most recently led Odebrecht Investments & Infrastructure and was at one time head of polyvinyl chloride maker Trikem, one of the companies that merged into Braskem. Gradin also played a role in the development of Braskem's strategic vision and was vice president of two of the firm's business units.
Braskem says Gradin's mission will be to continue the firm's goals to become one of the world's top 10 petrochemical firms, in terms of stock market value, by 2012. Last year, the firm acquired the petrochemical assets of the Ipiranga Group and control of the Copesul ethylene cracker.
Grubisich had led Braskem since its formation in 2002, when Odebrecht and Brazilian chemical player Mariani combined their petrochemical feedstock and downstream vinyl and polyolefin assets. Grubisich joined Braskem from Rhodia, where he was president of the fine organics business and its Latin America unit. He was largely responsible for Braskem's rapid sales growth.
In 2002, Braskem had $2.5 billion in sales, and earnings before taxes and interest stood at $598 million. Last year, the firm had sales of $9.8 billion and earnings before taxes and interest of $1.6 billion.
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