Issue Date: November 14, 2011
Celanese’s Leader To Step Down
David N. Weidman, the man who took acetyl chemicals maker Celanese public in 2005, will retire as chairman and CEO of the firm on April 2, 2012. Succeeding him will be Mark C. Rohr, currently chairman of specialty chemicals maker Albemarle.
Rohr, 59, will continue as chairman of Albemarle until Feb. 1, 2012. He has been a Celanese board member since 2007. Weidman, 55, will be working with Rohr to complete a smooth transition, the firm says.
Paul H. O’Neill, Celanese’s presiding director, says, “The company is well positioned for the future” as a result of Weidman’s leadership and commitment to performance over the past decade. A company spokesman says Weidman is departing to focus on “personal interests including his family, faith, and philanthropy.”
“If you are going to lose a CEO to retirement, you couldn’t do better than Mark Rohr” as a replacement, says Charles Neivert, a managing director and analystat investment banking firm Dahlman Rose & Co. Neivert says he expects that, with Rohr leading the firm, Celanese will have the same financial discipline and conservative management it has had with Weidman.
Weidman, a chemical engineer with an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, joined Celanese in 2000, shortly after the firm was spun off from Hoechst. He became CEO in 2004 during a financially trying period for the company as the private equity firm Blackstone Capital Partners took Celanese private. He then worked with Blackstone to realign the firm’s businesses, bolster an underfunded pension fund, and go public after only nine months. Under his leadership, Celanese has thrived and recently entered the ethanol market, with major projects planned in China and Texas.
Rohr joined Albemarle in 1999 after having worked for several chemical firms including Occidental Chemical, Cain Chemical, and Dow Chemical. He holds degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from Mississippi State University. The Kentucky native became president and chief operating officer of Albemarle in 2000 and CEO in 2002.
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