Kavaler Award

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 2023 Kavaler Award winner is Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Board of Management, LANXESS AG. (To see the press release, click Kavaler Award 2023 under Recent News below.) Kavaler honorees in the last several years have been 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 from a ballot of 16 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.



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The Chemists' Club Kavaler Award sponsored by Piper Sandler is chosen by peer vote: leaders in the global chemical industry.

The nominees are CEOs from 16 companies, 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.


2023 Awardee - Matthias Zachert

Chairman of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG

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.


2022 Awardee - Lori J. Ryerkerk

                                                Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Celanese

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.  


2020 Awardee - Amin H. Nasser

CEO Saudi Aramco

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.


2019 Awardee - Bob Patel

CEO of LyondellBasell Industries

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.


2018 Awardee - Bob Patel

CEO of LyondellBasell Industries

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.


2017 Awardee - Kurt Bock

Chairman of BASF SE

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.


2016 Awardee - Jim Radcliffe

Chairman of INEOS

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.


2015 Awardee - Andrew Liveris

Chairman and CEO of Dow

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.


2014 Awardee - Jim Gallogly

CEO of LyondellBasell

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.


2013 Awardee - Charles Bunch

Chairman and CEO of PPG Industries

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.