Robert D. Hansen: Company Veteran Is Burns’s New Number Two | May 2, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 18 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 18 | p. 22
Issue Date: May 2, 2011

Robert D. Hansen: Company Veteran Is Burns’s New Number Two

Department: Business
Keywords: silicon-based products, innovation, worldwide web
Credit: Jeff Glenn/Dow Corning
Credit: Jeff Glenn/Dow Corning

Robert D. Hansen, president of Dow Corning since November, will introduce Dow Corning CEO Stephanie Burns at the Société de Chimie Industrielle dinner in her honor on Tuesday, May 3. Like his boss, he shares a passion for innovation.

As Hansen sees it, Burns led the firm from an era when it focused on developing new molecules to an era centered on innovation. He defines innovation as “taking something that already exists and applying it in new ways.” That can mean modifying a molecule developed as a construction sealant so it can be molded into a kitchen baking pan.

It can also mean adapting Internet tools to develop the online silicones sales outlet Xiameter, which Dow Corning introduced in 2002. Hansen played an important role in the expansion of Xiameter.

Prior to becoming president, Hansen was executive vice president and general manager of the firm’s core products business, which consists mostly of commodity chemicals. Xiameter, he explains, doesn’t sell newly developed products but is rather an automated platform for the sale, manufacture, and distribution of tried-and-true silicones.

A 29-year Dow Corning veteran, Hansen joined the firm as a cost accountant after earning a B.S. in business administration from Valparaiso University in Indiana. Like Burns, he had overseas postings, including stints in Europe and Brazil. At different times he was manager of the South America region and president of the European area.

In November 2010, Dow Corning’s board elected Hansen president, a position Burns had held since 2003, making him heir apparent.

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