• September 12, 2013
  • SK Capital, Archroma

SK Capital Announces New Archroma Leadership Team

New York, September 12, 2013 – SK Capital, a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors, is expected to close the acquisition of the Textile Chemicals, Paper Specialties and Emulsions businesses from Clariant at the end of September, 2013. Upon the closing of the transaction, the three divisions will be combined into an integrated, market-focused, and highly collaborative company. The name of the new company, Archroma, is representative of the organization’s mission to provide its customers with the highest levels of quality, reliability, innovation and customer delight.

To lead Archroma, SK Capital announced that they have brought together a skilled senior leadership team with significant experience in the chemicals and process industries who will work closely with the current heads of the three business units to ensure a smooth transition to an independent consolidated company.

The new members of the management team and their respective positions are:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Alexander Wessels
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO): Roland Waibel
  • Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO): Valérie Robert
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO): Vincent Keller
  • General Counsel : Hans Lourens

To complete the senior management team, SK Capital expects to add a President Supply Chain in the near future.

The existing leaders of the three business units who will continue in their current roles at Archoma are:

  • President Textile Specialties: Thomas Winkler
  • President Paper Solutions: Helmut Wagner
  • President Emulsions Products: Dominik von Bertrab

Aaron Davenport, Managing Director at SK Capital, said: “We are pleased to bring together a highly skilled and seasoned leadership team that have proven track records of driving growth and improvement in the specialty chemicals industry. We are convinced that the combination of this new leadership team together with the strong management currently in place at the textiles, paper, and emulsions businesses will ensure a seamless transition for our customers as well as put the company in position to accelerate growth, enhance business process improvement and drive substantial innovation at Archroma in the future.”

Archroma will be a world-leading supplier of products and solutions to the textile, paper, adhesives, and coating industries with revenues of approximately $1.3 billion, 25 global manufacturing facilities, and approximately 3,000 employees. The company will be headquartered in Switzerland and its Textile Specialties, Paper Solutions and Emulsions Products businesses will be managed, as they are today, from Singapore, Switzerland and Brazil respectively.

Please see the biographical information on the leadership team below:

Alexander “Xander” Wessels joins Archroma with almost 25 years of chemical, pharmaceutical and process industry experience. Mr Wessels has spent the past seven years at Royal DSM NV, and in his most recent position was President and CEO of DSM Pharmaceutical Products, a global pharmaceutical ingredients and contract manufacturing organization. Previously, he held various management and executive positions at Unilever, Quest International, ICI, and as Executive Committee Member of Campina.

A Dutch native, Mr Wessels has lived and worked in a number of countries around the globe and will be returning to Europe from his current base in the United States. He brings to Archroma an impressive track record of driving improved business performance, disciplined growth on a global scale and the implementation of strategic initiatives focused on high growth economies, innovation and sustainable solutions.

Mr Wessels holds an MSc in Molecular Sciences from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and both an MSM and MBA from the Krannert Business School of Purdue University in the United States and Tilburg University, in the Netherlands.

Roland Waibel brings 25 years of global and diverse chemical and process industry experience, having held key financial and executive leadership roles at both publicly listed and privately owned companies. Mr Waibel possesses significant experience in business process/change management and has led global business services organizations including I.T. Corporate Development and Shared Services. Most recently, Mr Waibel was Chief Financial Officer and a Member of the Executive Board at Omya Management AG, a privately owned, global producer of specialty materials. Previously, he held the position of Group CFO at Lonza AG, a publicly traded global producer of organic and fine chemicals.

Valérie Robert is a contemporary human resources leader with more than 25 years of global experience in change management, M&A integration, talent management/ development, organization design and cultural transformation. Ms Robert spent the majority of her career at Procter and Gamble where she held positions of increasing responsibility providing Human Resources support to a number of key businesses including Household Care and Family Health. During her tenure at P&G, Ms Robert also led HR transition teams and integration activities for a number of notable acquisitions. Ms Robert joins Archroma from Firmenich, a privately held global producer of fragrance and flavor ingredients where she held a dual role as Vice President, Human Resources for the Flavor/R&D divisions and a corporate position as the Global Head of Talent.

Vincent Keller brings to Archroma a depth of experience in information systems, supply chain and innovation. A mechanical engineer and certified six sigma black belt, Mr Keller possesses significant expertise in leading process optimization, supply chain management and business transformation/harmonization activities, providing solutions to complex business issues. Mr Keller was most recently employed as Chief Information Officer for Selecta, Europe’s largest vending services company. Previously his industry experience encompassed fine chemicals and automotive where he held global leadership positions at both Eaton Corporation and Firmenich, focused on value creation, cost optimization and best in class project management initiatives.

Johannes “Hans” Lourens joins Archroma with 15 years of in-house legal counsel experience. Mr Lourens brings significant expertise in the drafting and negotiation of contracts, the structuring and implementation of legal policies/guidelines and working with boards of directors to provide legal guidance on international transactions to include M&A, commercial agreements, strategic alliances and joint ventures. Mr Lourens has held a number of executive leadership positions including Director, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel at Campina, a $5 billion privately held organization and Royal Gist Brocades where he played a lead role in the sale of the company to DSM N.V.

Thomas Winkler is currently Head of the Business Unit Textile Chemicals at Clariant. He has been in the textile industry for almost 30 years, working for a variety of German textile companies before joining Sandoz in 1987 as Head Product Management Textile Chemicals. In 1992 Thomas Winkler was appointed Business Unit Head Textile Chemicals Germany from which he transferred to Business Unit Head, Textile Chemicals for the East Asia Region in 1996. In 2005, he served as Global Head Product Management and Marketing Textile. He took up his current post in January 2006.

Helmut Wagner is currently Head of Clariant’s Business Unit Paper Specialties. Mr Wagner started his career with Sandoz, now Clariant, in 1979. Since then he held several positions in the group, including Head of Procurement & Sourcing for the Textile, Leather & Paper Division from 1992 to 2003. He was nominated as Head of the Paper Business in 2003. Mr Wagner holds an Executive MBA from the University of St Gall (HSG).

Dominik von Bertrab started his career in 1985 when he joined Sandoz – now Clariant. In that time he served as a Member of Management Board at Clariant AG and as its Head of Masterbatches Divisions at Clariant SA. He has held several other positions with Clariant since its formation in 1995, including Chief Operating Officer of Clariant (Hong Kong) Ltd., Head of Controlling for the Textile, Leather & Paper (TLP) Chemicals Division, Head of Business Unit Paper in the TLP Division and Head of Corporate Human Resources. He currently is Head of Clariant’s Emulsions Business Line.
About SK Capital

SK Capital is a private investment firm with a disciplined focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors. Our integrated, multi-disciplinary team utilizes its industry, operating and investment experience to help transform businesses into higher performing organizations. Located in New York, NY and Boca Raton, FL, we are currently investing from SK Capital Partners III, L.P., a $500 million fund of committed capital. Our portfolio companies generate revenues of over $6.0 billion annually and employ more than 4,000 people.

Please visit www.skcapitalpartners.com for more information about SK Capital.