INDUSTRY MOVES: People in the news

This is the latest entry in a regular series hosted on the HPInformer blog. With People in the news, we keep tabs on the movers and shakers in the HPI. If you know someone that just got promoted or are trying to get word out about new leadership at your company, let us know! Send an email with all the pertinent details to

Brazilian energy major Petrobras named Maria das Graca Silva Foster as president and CEO, effective February 13.

The company’s board picked her to replace Jose Sergio Gabrielli.

Foster has worked with Petrobras for 31 years, and was most recently gas and energy director. She had held that post since 2007.

Foster was nominated for the position by board president Guido Mantega.

US-based Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) appointed Tim Leveille as its chief financial officer (CFO) and controller, effective March 1.

He replaces Greg Maxwell, who was appointed CFO of ConocoPhillips’ newly-formed downstream company Phillips 66.

Leveille joins CPChem from Chevron, where he was assistant treasurer.

CPChem is a 50-50 joint venture between Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

US specialty chemicals producer Albemarle announced that John Steitz was elected president and chief operating officer, effective March 1.

In the role, he will oversee all aspects of company operations, including global responsibility for manufacturing, supply chain, sales and health, safety and environmental.

Steitz joined Albemarle in 2000 and had served as an executive vice president since 2007.

Albemarle also named Susan Kelliher as a senior vice president in human resources, effective March 5.

In her new role, she will lead all aspects of the company’s global human resources function, including recruiting and retainment.

Kelliher was most recently vice president of human resources in the global sales and enterprise marketing division at Hewlett Packard.

She will report to Albemarle CEO Luke Kissam.

GE Power & Water
named Ralph Exton as chief marketing officer of GE’s water and process technologies business.

In the new role, Exton will lead marketing and sustainability efforts for the business.

Prior to joining GE, Exton worked for Betz Laboratories. GE said Exton has been strategically involved in numerous recognized mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the water treatment industry in recent years.

US-based gas detection company Industrial Scientific promoted Kevin Miller to chief operating officer and vice president.

In the new position, he will be responsible for sales, services, marketing, product development and manufacturing for the company’s portable gas detection business.

Miller has worked with the firm since 2007, most recently as vice president of global sales, services and marketing.

Compressed air system engineering firm Pneumatech promoted Joseph A. Fresch to vice president within the North America region.

Fresch, who joined Pneumatech in 1991, will be responsible for sales, technical service and customer service.

He most recently worked as national sales manager for the company.

Viking Pump appointed Kerry Baskins to the position of vice president of sales, where he will be responsible for the global sales of Viking Pump and Wright Flow Technologies products.

His prior position was as vice president of Grundfos Pumps. Earlier in his career, Baskins held sales and marketing roles with Viking from 1990 to 1997, the company said.

Viking Pump also appointed Bill Canady to the role of general manager of parts and services. Canada most recently worked as Viking’s vice president of marketing.

US-based scaffolding and access solutions company Safway Services said that Bill Hayes became its president, chief operating officer and a director, effective February 20.

Hayes spent the last four years at Honeywell, where he was president of Honeywell Safety Products.

US farmer-owned cooperative CHS appointed Jim Loving as senior vice president for refining, pipelines and terminals, effective April 2.

Loving will relocate to CHS headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., and will also continue in his current position as president of the National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA).

Last December, CHS announced it had reached agreement with NCRA to transfer full ownership to CHS, currently its majority shareholder. That deal will be complete on Sept. 1, 2015.

CHS says that Dan Knepper, senior vice president of energy operations, will retire on April 2.

German chemicals major BASF made several senior appointments for its paper chemicals, crop protection and mobile emissions catalysts businesses in the Asia-Pacific region.

Heng Lin is leading the company’s paper chemicals business, effective March 1, the company said. Lin replaces Eng Soo Chew, who will retire on March 31.

Raman Ramachandran will succeed Lin as senior vice president of the Asia-Pacific crop protection business, effective March 1.

Ramachandran was previously vice president of marketing for the segment, based in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Anup Kothari was appointed vice president of business management to lead the Shanghai-based mobile emissions catalysts unit, effective April 1.

Kothari will replace Lothar Laupichler, who was named senior vice president of electronic materials. In that post, effective April 1, he will be based out of Ludwigshafen, Germany.

US-based paints and coatings firm Valspar named John Wardzel as senior vice president of global operations.

Wardzel joins Valspar from Celanese, where he held a similar title.

He will report to Valspar executive vice president Steven Erdahl.

Russell Gordon
will take over as chief financial officer for US-based coatings and sealants company RPM International, effective April 10.

Gordon, who currently serves as RPM’s vice president of corporate planning, was elected by the company’s board of directors.

He will succeed Robert Matejka, who is retiring.

Gordon joined RPM in 1995.

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