The Chemists’ Club Kavaler Award sponsored by Piper Sandler honors outstanding achievement by innovators and disruptors of the status quo in the global chemical industry. In these challenging times when science is under attack, it is vital to highlight the tremendous contributions the chemical industry makes to society. That is the objective of the Kavaler Award.
The 2024 Kavaler Award winner is Jim Fitterling, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Dow. Kavaler honorees in the last several years have been Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Board of Managment as Lanxess, Lori Ryerkerk, Chairman of Celanese, Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell, Kurt Bock, CEO of BASF, Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of INEOS, and Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical.
This prestigious chemical industry honor is bestowed on a senior executive by peer vote. The Chemists’ Club invites a large, diverse array of chemical industry leaders around the world to vote on the nominees (For the 2024 award, there are 14 nominees.). These nominees are selected for a wide range of criteria, including organic growth, innovation, diversity and inclusivity, safety and health, operational excellence, share price performance and M&A activity. There is also a special focus on ESG actions that have been meaningful and visible both within the industry and more broadly in society.
All votes are kept strictly confidential throughout and after the selection process.
The winner is celebrated at The Chemists’ Club Kavaler Award Gala sponsored by Piper Sandler – a black tie event where prominent members of the chemical industry gather to honor the year's award recipient. The winner receives a custom-designed trophy that is crafted each year by a top student artist from a prestigious NYC institution.
This award is a revival of the original Kavaler Award in the 1990s presented by Chemical Market Reporter for leading Chemical CEOs. The Kavaler award is named in honor of Arthur Kavaler, "the most influential chemical journalist of his generation" as reporter, editor, and publisher at at Chemical Market Reporter for 46 years.
"[Arthur Kavaler] had come to be regarded as the
most influential chemical journalist of his generation."
-Editor Robert Warren
Arthur R. Kavaler, who served for 46 years as reporter, editor and eventually publisher of one of the publications that has become ICIS Chemical Business, was a man with a large personality and zest for life. As a probing reporter, excellent raconteur, and outspoken editor, he forever changed the fate of chemical industry journalism.
In 1947, he joined the Schnell Publishing Co., owned by the Schnell-Auchincloss family, as market editor of the Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter. He was appointed news editor in 1949, managing editor in 1952 and editor-in-chief in 1969. In 1972, he became President of Schnell and Publisher and CEO of OPD, which was re-named Chemical Marketing Reporter (later further re-named Chemical Market Reporter), and remained editor-in-chief. Under his management, he brought forth highly innovative products such as a new monthly business magazine feature called Chemical Business. He also understood the potential of computerization and developed one of the first-ever electronic reference databases for business: CompuReach. Throughout his successful career and thereafter, Arthur Kavaler was an active and long-time member of The Chemists‘ Club.
In 1990, he semi-retired and Schnell honored his work by creating an award for excellence in chief executives in the chemical industry in his name. The Kavaler Award was given to leading CEOs from 1990-1999, including Jon Huntsman Sr. (Huntsman), Robert Kennedy (Union Carbide), Frank Popoff (Dow Chemical), and Edgar Woolard (DuPont). Arthur R. Kavaler passed away at the age of 91 on January 18, 2012.
"In this society where all news is breaking news,
where fiction and fantasy are our new reality,
Arthur set a standard we should all emulate."
The Chemists' Club Kavaler Award Sponsored by Piper Sandler is a revival of the Kavaler Award presented by Chemical Market Reporter in 1990-1999 in Honor of Arthur Kavaler, a probing reporter and former chief editor of Chemical Market Reporter.
After the purchase of Schnell Publishing by the giant Elsevier science journal book publisher based in London, Elsevier discontinued the Kavaler Award as the award had been managed by Schnell.
Dr. Roland Stefandl, President of The Chemists‘ Club from 1998-2006 & 2009-Present, along with Andrea Kavaler, daughter of Arthur Kavaler, and Joseph Chang, global editor of ICIS Chemical Business, revived the Kavaler Award. As a student member of The Chemists‘ Club, Dr. Stefandl often met Arthur Kavaler at various occasions and thereafter met Andrea Kavaler. With permission from Andrea, Dr. Stefandl contacted the editor of ICIS whom he knew, Joseph Chang. With approval from the ICIS management, Dr. Stefandl, Andrea Kavaler, and Joseph Chang planned for the revival of the Kavaler Award. They invited Dr. Ernest Gilmont, who was a long-time Chemists‘ Club member and Arthur Kavaler‘s good friend, to bring this award back.
Originally, the Kavaler Award recipient was chosen by a group of Wall Street Chemical financial analysts; however, that was no longer possible due to SEC federal banking laws. Instead of having a team of global editors select the winner, Dr. Stefandl thought of and pursued the idea of a peer-vote-peer method by the members of the ICIS Top 40 Power Players. With approval from ICIS and support from the revival team, they added special quirks for the Kavaler Gala. The Master of Ceremony was not the club President, Dr. Stefandl, but rather an appointed Chemists‘ Club member/trustee. In addition, the award was chosen to be newly designed and crafted by a student artist at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
The first renewed Kavaler Award Gala was held in 2013 to honor Charles Bunch (Chairman and CEO of PPG Industries) and has continued without interruption to the present day. The Kavaler Award Gala is a black tie event where prominent members of the chemical and chemical reporting industry gather to celebrate the year's award winner. In 2020, the Kavaler Award was celebrated online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite chaos around the world, the annual Kavaler Award persisted and pushed forward, honoring the achievements of the chemical industry through the difficult times.
The Chemists' Club Kavaler Award sponsored by Piper Sandler is chosen by peer vote: leaders in the global chemical industry.
The nominees are chemical company CEOs, selected on a wide range of criteria including organic growth, innovation, diversity and inclusivity, safety & health, operational excellence, share price performance and M&A activity. There is also a special focus on ESG actions that have been meaningful and visible both from within the industry and more broadly in society.
For the award selection process, The Chemists‘ Club invites a large and diverse array of chemical industry leaders around the world to vote for their choice of Kavaler Award winner from the nominees.
All votes cast are kept strictly confidential throughout and after the selection process.
Since becoming CEO in 2018, Jim Fitterling has achieved a tremendous amount. In addition to managing the successful separation of Dow from DowDuPont and navigating the company through the pandemic, he streamlined the company through divestitures, cost reductions and disciplined capital allocation. At the same time, he invested heavily in organic growth and innovation, while championing the importance of plastics circularity, bio-based feedstocks and the reduction of carbon emissions. He has also been a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, and has led Dow's drive to adapt its global talent.
Since returning to LANXESS AG as Chairman of the Board of Management in 2014, Matthias Zachert has massively transformed the company in a very short time - away from being an undifferentiated mass producer and towards the higher end of the specialty spectrum. Even in the dynamic chemical industry, the speed and dimension of this transformation is exceptional. LANXESS has a completely different profile today than when he took office. Additionally, he has built on LANXESS' long standing commitment to ESG with the goal to become climate-neutral by 2040.
Since becoming CEO of Celanese in May 2019 and Chairman in May 2020, Lori Ryerkerk has not only advanced the aggressive growth trajectory of the company, but has also further accelerated the huge strides that Celanese had made in improving diversity and inclusion. She has also ingrained a culture of sustainability throughout the company. Celanese‘s plans to replace traditional methanol feedstocks with recycled carbon dioxide are just one example of the importance she places on sustainability.
Saudi Aramco CEO, Amin Nasser, made huge advances in petrochemicals with the $69bn acquisition of SABIC, the construction of mega projects worldwide and the ongoing development of crude oil-to-chemicals technology. The level of project activity for Aramco was unprecedented for any company. Its global ambitions and investments in petrochemicals would create waves in the industry for years to come.
It was the 2nd consecutive year that Mr. Patel received The Chemists‘ Club Kavaler Award, a first in the history of the awards. Mr. Patel was at the forefront of the global chemical industry's flagship initiative to solve the problem of plastic waste in our environment and oceans. As a key leader in the multi-sector Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), he had clear support from his peers to find real solutions to address this threat. Mr. Patel positioned LyondellBasell for growth with a pipeline of major expansion projects on the US Gulf Coast as well as the acquisition of A. Schulman, all while maintaining a strong balance sheet.
CEO of LyondellBasell Industries, Bob Patel, took a disciplined approach to capital spending and made incremental US ethylene capacity expansions rather than building a new cracker. This set the stage for major downstream investments in polyethylene and propylene oxide/tertiary butyl alcohol on the US Gulf Coast, as well as the acquisition of US plastics compounder A. Schulman.
Kurt Bock kept a steady hand on the world‘s largest chemical company through challenging economic cycles and major structural changes in the global chemical industry, making disciplined investments and portfolio adjustments to position the firm for optimal performance.
Mr. Ratcliffe led INEOS as one of the most creative and intrepid chemical companies worldwide. By investing in his long-term vision, INEOS was the first ever to import US ethane for local petrochemical production. The company was also on the forefront of shale gas exploration in the UK and was a key consolidator in the European polyvinyl chloride sector.
Under the leadership of Mr. Liveris, Dow made transformational moves – from feedstock advantaged capital investments on the US Gulf Coast and the Middle East, to divestitures of non-core assets such as the tax-advantaged deal to carve-out the chlor-alkali and derivatives business.
Under Mr. Gallogly‘s leadership, LyondellBasell significantly boosted value by returning profits to shareholders though dividends and stock buybacks – all while making investments in key expansion projects that would raise cost advantaged capacity without massive capital outlays. Mr. Gallogly, as CEO, established a solid financial footing for LyondellBasell for many years to come.
As CEO of PPG Industries, Charles Bunch made a landmark deal to separate PPG‘s commodity chemicals business and to merge it with Georgia Gulf to create a new fully integrated polyvinyl chloride (PVC) company, Axiall, boosting PPG shareholder value significantly. Acquisitions also added value to PPG‘s core coatings business – most notably, AkzoNobel‘s North American architectural coatings business. Through the years, PPG, led by Mr. Bunch, has made a series of acquisitions and divestitures, transforming the company from a diversified industrial conglomerate in the mid1990s to a leading global coatings company today.
ICIS Chemical Business is the premier weekly publication keeping you up-to-date on the most important developments in the global chemical markets, including prices and the factors driving prices in both the short and long term. These include macroeconomic trends, trade and regulatory developments, new projects, and mergers and acquisitions. www.icis.com/subscriber/icb Joseph Chang is Global Editor of ICIS Chemical Business, a part of ICIS, www.icis.com.
Joseph Chang is Global Editor of ICIS Chemical Business, a part of ICIS, www.icis.com.
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