Specialty chemicals company Albemarle Corp., Baton Rouge, La., is promoting Luther C. Kissam to CEO, effective Sept. 1, 2011. Kissam joined the company in September 2003 as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Previously, he served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of Merisant Company, and as associate general counsel of Monsanto Company.
"Luke has demonstrated broad leadership capability in his various roles at Albemarle," says current CEO Mark C. Rohr, who will remain chairman of the board for the company. "He led Albemarle's restructuring efforts during the recent recession, positioning the company to recover faster than most while also expanding margins."
Indeed, the company recently reported second quarter 2011 earnings of $114.2 million, or $1.23 per share, compared to second quarter 2010 earnings of $81.8 million, or 89 cents per share.
In addition to strong earnings, the company also has earned kudos for corporate citizenship. Corporate Responsibility Magazine selected Albemarle for its "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list for 2010 and 2011.
Staying true to the designation, the company served as primary sponsor for a major expedition to study the impacts of recent events on the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem.
In early June, Ocean Alliance -- a non-profit organization that collects data on whales and ocean life relating particularly to toxicology, the University of Southern Maine and Albemarle launched a 14-week scientific voyage to study the impacts of recent oil spills and natural disasters on the Gulf of Mexico. The mission started in Key West, Fla., with a 10-person team aboard the 93-foot floating laboratory, Odyssey. The team will collect samples from fish, squid, krill, sperm and Brydes whales, and the water from depths as low as 3,000 feet to try to monitor and gauge the health of the Gulf ecosystem.
The expedition will follow the 3,000-ft depth contour line into the Gulf of Mexico, spending considerable time working within 5 to 100 miles of the Deepwater Horizon site.
"Albemarle is dedicated to using scientific research to find safe, sustainable solutions to environmental challenges," says Rohr. "We are proud to support the voyage of the Odyssey as its team seeks to better understand the impacts of society on our important ecosystems."
The data collected on the expedition will be taken to the University of Southern Maine and analyzed by researchers at the Wise Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology. The report of the impacts should assist scientists in better understanding what can be done to reduce the impacts these recent events have had on this ecosystem that is the home of so many important species of whales.