Yousef Abdullah Al Benyan, who was appointed as Sabic’s CEO elect on 15 February and who is expected to be confirmed as CEO, has made several organizational changes, CW has learned. In one of the most significant changes, Sabic’s youngest business unit, performance chemicals, which had very big ambitions, is being merged into the chemicals and innovative plastics business units.
Personnel changes include the appointment of Mosaed Al Ohali to executive v.p./corporate finance; Abdulrahman Al Faqeeh to executive v.p./polymers; Ernesto Occhiello to executive v.p./innovative plastics; Awadh Al Maker to executive v.p./technology and innovation; and Ahmed Al Shaikh, former v.p./manufacturing center of excellence, to executive v.p./manufacturing. Abdulaziz Al Oudan moves to executive v.p./human resources, while Sabic’s veteran Fahad Al Sheaibi becomes adviser to the CEO. All appointments are internal and take effect on 1 May.
Performance chemicals, the youngest and the smallest of Sabic’s business units, was to play an important role in Sabic’s growth strategy, with targets to contribute 10% of total sales by 2020. The unit, following its creation, took over responsibility for the production of 2-ethyl hexanol, isobutyraldehyde, linear alpha-olefins, dioctyl phthalate, acetic acid, isopentane, and acetone at Sabic’s existing facilities. Its investment program was to add many other products and enter Sabic into polyurethanes (PUs). This program, however, suffered a setback last year when Sabic canceled a propylene oxide–styrene monomer and polyols partnership with Shell at their Sadaf joint venture. Sabic also canceled an associated isocyanates project, putting its entry into PUs in limbo. Some of the performance chemicals’ plans are at an advanced stage of implementation, however. An elastomers jv with ExxonMobil Chemical is expected onstream this year. Other performance chemicals projects are well under way, including methyl methacrylate and polymethyl methacrylate, as well as polyacetals plants. Also, a 330,000-m.t./year n-butanol plant currently in its start-up phase forms part of a three-way alliance among Saudi Kayan, a Sabic affiliate; Sadara, a jv between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical; and Saudi Acrylic Acid Co., a Tasnee subsidiary. Many of the products within performance chemicals overlapped chemicals and plastics portfolios.
Al Benyan replaces Mohamed Al Mady, who was appointed president of the country’s Military Industries Corp. after 17 years at the helm of Sabic.
By Natasha Alperowicz