Luther C. “Luke” Kissam has been promoted to chief executive officer at Albemarle Corp., a Baton Rouge specialty chemicals firm with international operations.
Kissam will take over the role from Mark C. Rohr, who will continue as executive chairman of Albemarle’s board of directors. Kissam has served as president since March 2010.
The move, effective Sept. 1, is part of Albemarle’s plan to increase its revenue by $5 billion by 2015.
“This has been a succession plan that Mark and the board have been working on for some period of time,” Kissam said Monday.
“Mark’s been CEO for 10 or 11 years, and years ago he laid out a plan where if everybody was doing their job right, by 2012 there’d be a succession plan,” Kissam said.
Kissam said the change in CEO leadership is consistent with Albemarle’s “Vision 2015” growth strategy.
“He allowed me to lead the leadership team through that process, to develop it,” Kissam said of the Vision 2015 plan. “And now that we’re in the execution phase, Mark and the board thought now was the appropriate time to move to that next phase of the succession, which was Mark become the executive chairman and I assume the CEO role.”
Rohr was traveling Monday and unavailable for comment.
“Luke has demonstrated broad leadership capability in his various roles at Albemarle,” Rohr said in a prepared statement. “He led Albemarle’s restructuring efforts during the recent recession, positioning the company to recover faster than most while also expanding (profit) margins. He has been a driving force in our efforts to establish strategic commercial initiatives, and has been instrumental in our overall efforts to merge commercial opportunities and innovative chemistry.”
Kissam joined Albemarle in September 2003 as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary and served as senior vice president, manufacturing and law, and corporate secretary from January 2008 until his promotion to president in March 2010.
Before joining Albemarle, Kissam served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of Merisant Co. He’d previously served as associate general counsel of the Monsanto Co.
“I am honored to take on the role of CEO at Albemarle and lead our 4,000-plus employees around the globe as we work hard to build upon our successes of the last decade and continue to deliver sustainable value to our stakeholders,” Kissam said in a statement.
“Luke is a great team player, a strong supporter of our globalization efforts and is devoted to the development of our resources across the organization,” said Rohr, who has severed as chief executive officer since 2002 and chairman of the board since 2008.
Albemarle manufactures chemicals used in consumer electronics, petroleum refining, utilities, packaging pharmaceuticals and other applications.
Its stock closed Monday at $67.39, down 76 cents, or 1.12 percent.