28 Nov 2013
SCI America's 2014 Chemical Industry Medal will be presented to Sunil Kumar, Managing Principal of Wembly Enterprises and retired Chief Executive Officer of International Specialty Products (ISP). He will receive the medal at a dinner in his honour on 11 March 2014, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
The SCI Chemical Industry Medal honours an individual whose leadership, commitment and contributions have been responsible for substantial progress and performance of the chemical industry. In addition to being an active guiding force in the management of their company during periods of growth or development of new businesses, recipients are known for service rendered to the industry as a whole.
'Through his leadership, Sunil built ISP into an international leader in specialty chemicals', said Andreas Kramvis, chair of SCI America. 'He has established himself as a leading voice in the specialty chemicals industry and, while serving as chairperson of SCI America, established an innovative programme to encourage students to pursue careers in industrial chemistry.'
About Sunil Kumar
Until his retirement in 2011, Sunil Kumar was CEO, President, and Board Member of ISP, a global manufacturer of specialty chemicals (2011 sales were US$ 2.1 billion). ISP chemicals are used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food, and other industrial uses. In 2003, Kumar worked with an investors group to take the company private. Over his tenure, he made a number of accretive acquisitions and built exports to the point of representing 50% of sales and income. ISP maintained an admirable annual profit growth rate of 11% over 10 years and maintained the highest margins in its industry. Kumar became a leading spokesperson for the specialty chemicals segment and was frequently quoted in trade publications.
Prior to ISP, Sunil was President and CEO of GAF Materials Corporation ($3 million in sales), the world's largest manufacturer of roofing products for residential and commercial buildings. Before that, he was Executive Vice President of Bridgestone/Firestone, and was responsible for Bridgestone/Firestone's North American tyres and auto services business which is now about $6 billion in annual sales. He had earlier started a business that became Firestone Building Products Company which is now a $1 billion manufacturer of roofing and insulation products. After his retirement Sunil continues in the chemical industry through ownership of two specialty businesses - Universal Plastics Inc and Nylon Corporation of America. In addition, he is Senior Advisor to Reliance Industries Limited.
Sunil was a Board Member of the American Chemistry Council from 1999-2011 and President of the Société de Chimie Industrielle from 2008-2010. He served as Chairman of SCI America in 2009-2010. During his time as Chairman, he was instrumental in starting its SCI America Scholars Programme, an initiative to encourage college students to pursue careers in industrial chemistry and chemical engineering.
Sunil was selected to be the 2005 Specialty Chemicals CEO of the Year by Frost & Sullivan, a distinguished international industry and market research firm. In 2006, he was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award by his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). A native of New Delhi, India, Sunil holds a Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, and an MBA from the University of Louisiana.
About the Chemical Industry Medal
The Chemical Industry Medal has been awarded by SCI America for more than 85 years. Presentation is made annually to a recipient selected by the Executive Committee SCI America. The Chemical Industry Medal is a testimonial to men and women whose leadership, foresight, and contributions to applied chemistry have been, to a considerable degree, responsible for the growth of that industry. The medal has attained distinction by reason of the outstanding achievements and calibre of those who have been honoured. Past recipients include Andrew N Liveris, David N Weidman, J Brian Ferguson, Michael E Campbell, and Jeffrey M Lipton.