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Synthomer appoints Michael Willome as Group Chief Executive Officer

June 27, 2021
Chemical Value Chain

The Board of Synthomer plc (‘Synthomer’ or ‘the Company’) is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Willome as Group Chief Executive Officer. Michael will succeed Calum MacLean, who announced in January 2021 that he wished to step down once a suitable successor had been identified. Michael, 54, will join the Synthomer Board as Chief Executive on 1 November 2021. Calum will remain in role in the meantime and thereafter to ensure an orderly transition.

Michael is an established public market CEO with a track record of driving performance through both strong operational management and strategic actions, including M&A. He has a deep understanding of the end markets in which Synthomer operates, with speciality chemicals and broad geographic experience.

From January 2016 to April 2021, Michael was CEO of Conzzeta AG (renamed Bystronic AG in May 2021), a global conglomerate listed on the SIX Swiss exchange which comprised five businesses. Under his leadership, through organic growth and acquisitions, the group with 5,200 employees achieved a doubling of EBIT in the four years ended 2019 and an increase in revenues to CHF1.6 billion. In 2020, Michael implemented a fundamental transformation of the Company which included focusing on Bystronic and the successful divestment of all other businesses.

Previously, Michael spent 18 years with Clariant AG, latterly leading its global Industrial & Consumer Specialities division from 2010 to 2015, a business which at the time generated sales of CHF1.5 billion and had some 2,300 employees. This followed 13 years in leadership roles in Asia Pacific, where he was division head of the region, based in Hong Kong, as well as in Canada and Turkey.

He is currently a Non-Executive Director of Glaston, listed on NASDAQ Helsinki. Michael, a Swiss national, will relocate to the UK and be based in Synthomer’s head office in London.

Caroline Johnstone, Chair of Synthomer, said: “I am delighted to welcome Michael to the Company. He is a high calibre, proven business leader with considerable experience in the global speciality chemicals industry and a strong track record of driving growth and profitability. His appointment follows an extensive search process. The Board is confident that Michael brings with him the right capabilities to help lead Synthomer through the next phase of its development, as we continue to deliver our successful strategy and invest in the future growth of the business.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Calum for his outstanding contribution to Synthomer since his appointment in January 2015. Under his leadership, the Company has been transformed into a diversified, differentiated and global speciality chemicals business, the benefits of which can be seen clearly in our performance. He leaves a strong team and platform for continued success and we wish him the very best for the future.”

Michael Willome said: “Synthomer is a global differentiated and speciality chemical company with a strong track record of delivery, leading positions in its markets and a portfolio of innovative and sustainable solutions for its customers. I am delighted to be joining the Company at this exciting time in its development. With OMNOVA now fully integrated, Synthomer is in a strong position to continue to pursue its growth agenda and I look forward to working with the team to build further on its success.”


All remuneration arrangements for Michael are consistent with the terms of the Directors’ Remuneration Policy approved by shareholders at the AGM in April 2020. Michael will receive a base salary of £650,000 per annum. He will receive a pension allowance in line with the UK workforce. Michael will participate in the current Executive Director Annual Bonus Plan from 1 January 2022, which has an annual award opportunity of 150% of base salary (one-third deferred into shares for two years). There will be no Annual Bonus award for 2021. He will participate in the Synthomer Performance Share Plan with an annual award opportunity of 200% of base salary, subject to performance conditions measured over a three-year period, with an additional two years holding period. The 2021 award will be granted on joining (pro-rated from the date of commencement of employment). Michael will be required to build a shareholding equal to 220% of annual basic salary.

Michael will be entitled to benefits in line with the Group’s current policy and relocation support for a four-year period. He will also receive £100,000 as compensation for loss of additional pension-related compensation he would have received had he served out his full notice period at Conzzeta AG and departed on 30 June 2022. Michael’s employment contract requires 12 months’ notice of termination by him and the Company.

By Synthomer, Press Release


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