CP50: W.R. Grace & Co.

Company Information

W.R. Grace & Co. is a supplier of catalysts and other products to petroleum refiners; catalysts for the manufacture of plastics; silica-based engineered and specialty materials for a wide-range of industrial applications; specialty chemicals, additives and building materials for commercial and residential construction; and sealants and coatings for food and beverage packaging. With annual sales of more than $3.1 billion, Grace has about 6,500 employees and operations in over 40 countries. The Columbia, Md.-based company operates under three  units, Grace Davison, Darex Packaging Technologies and Grace Construction Products. Grace Davison traces its roots back to 1832 when William T. Davison, an Irish immigrant, founded the company. Among its products are refining technologies and specialty catalysts and processing technologies. Darex has been a supplier of can sealants for more than 80 years. Its can sealants are used in more than 340 billion cans annually.

Company Officers

  • Fred Festa.jpg

    Fred E. Festa

    Chairman, President and CEO

    Festa joined the company as president and chief operating officer in November 2003 and assumed the CEO responsibilities in June 2005. He is only the company's seventh CEO since Grace was founded in 1854. Festa became chairman of the board on January 1, 2008. He came to Grace from Morgenthaler Private Equity Partners, an $850 million venture/buy out firm focused on mid-market industrial build ups, where he was a partner since November 2002.From 2000 to 2002, Festa was president and CEO of ICG Commerce, a 450-person, privately held company offering online procurement services. During his tenure, he grew revenues from $5 million to $45 million and built-out the company's offering in Europe through the acquisition of Accenture's EP Value groups in the United Kingdom and Germany.

  • La Force.jpg

    Hudson La Force

    Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    La Force is responsible for the company’s worldwide financial management activities. Before joining Grace in April 2008, La Force served as chief operating officer and senior counselor to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, La Force was responsible for driving execution of the department’s strategic goals, strengthening its performance accountability systems, and implementing a number of other significant management and operational reforms. He had line responsibility for the Department of Education’s finance, human capital, information technology, and risk management activities. He also served as a member of the president’s Management Council.

  • greg poling

    Gregory E. Poling

    President and Chief Operating Officer

    Poling is responsible for Grace’s business segments of Grace Catalysts Technologies, Grace Materials Technologies and Grace Construction Products, as well as Operations and Environment, Health and Safety (EHS). Poling's tenure with Grace began in 1977. He has held positions in sales, marketing, business development and general management across all of Grace’s business segments. In 1999, he was appointed vice president and general manager of the company’s silica products worldwide. In 2003, he was named president of the company’s specialty materials business. In 2005, Poling became president of Grace Davison (one of the company’s two operating segments at the time) and vice president of W. R. Grace & Co. On Nov. 3, 2011, Poling was elected Grace’s president and chief operating officer.

Investor Information

For the latest financial reports, visit: http://investor.grace.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112313&p=irol-landing

Contact Information

  • W.R. Grace & Co.
  • 7500 Grace Dr.
  • Columbia, Md. 21044-4098
Back to the CP50 List
Featured content related to W.R. Grace & Co.


Grace Construction Products offers a wide range of specialty construction chemicals and materials that include concrete admixtures and fibers, liquid pigments for colored concrete, cement processing additives, concrete masonry products, air and vapor barriers, roofing underlayments, self-adhered window, door and deck flashings, structural waterproofing systems and fire protection products. Its roofing underlayments protect against leaks caused by ice dams and wind-driven rain. The company's refinery products enable refiners to reduce emissions from their fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) units and reduce sulfur content in gasoline and diesel fuel. Grace's specialty catalysts are used in the manufacture of polyethylene and polypropylene resins found in products such as plastic film, high-performance plastic pipe and household containers. The company uses a combination of proprietary catalyst and support technology, as well as technology licensed from third parties, to provide unique catalyst-based solutions. The company's Discovery Sciences is focused on silica material science. The business unit researches and refines silica's properties and capabilities in the fields of analytical, preparative, and process scale chromatography. Grace Darex closure sealants provide solutions for every kind of plastic and metal closure. Recent developments in Darex are in active packaging, like the innovative oxygen-scavenging technology that prolongs food and beverage life without the use of preservatives.