By Frank Esposito, Plastics News Staff
Wilmington, Delaware-A personnel shakeup at DuPont Co. has resulted in a new leader for the firm's Performance Materials unit.
Jeffrey Keefer has replaced Craig Naylor as that unit's group vice president. Keefer had been vice president and general manager of DuPont Titanium Technologies.
Keefer, an Ohio native, has been with DuPont for 28 years. He began with the firm as a financial analyst and had held the titanium dioxide role since early 1999.
Performance Materials ranked third among DuPont's six business units in 2002, with sales of $4900 million. That number represented more than 20 percent of total sales at DuPont, the largest US-based chemical firm. The unit is a major producer of nylon, polyester, acetal and other specialty plastics, and represents DuPont in the DuPont Dow Elastomers and DuPont Teijin Films joint ventures.
Naylor, a 34-year DuPont veteran, had led Performance Materials since early 2002. He'll now hold the newly created position of group vice president, Asia Pacific. In that post, Naylor will be accountable for growth in Asia, with special emphasis on China and India, officials said in a 12 Jan news release.
Naylor will be based at DuPont headquarters in Wilmington, but will spend â€œsignificant periods of timeâ€ in the Asia-Pacific region.
In another polymers-related move, Thomas Powell will relinquish his title as global business director of Packaging & Industrial Polymers to become president for greater China. No successor to Powell was named in the news release.
The moves are tied to DuPont's plan to cut costs and shrink its product line by at least 20 percent to save $900 million by 2005. Officials expect to see $450 million in savings this year, with the remainder coming in 2005.
Officials said 1 Dec that the company would rebalance resources away from the US and Western Europe and focus more on emerging markets such as China, Brazil and central and Eastern Europe.
DuPont has offered little detail as to how its plastics units - including its market-leading nylon resin business - will be affected.