CEO Vergnano says Chemours is on path from good to great

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Vergnano

Chemours CEO Mark Vergnano could not make it any clearer.

“We are head over heels in love with Delaware,” Vergnano said in a speech Monday night before members of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

Chemours opted to keep its headquarters in Wilmington after looking at nearby states.

He cited the progress Chemours has made and said the company is on its way from good to great.

Also under construction in Delaware is a research and development center at the UD STAR Campus. The hub is an example of the company strategy of partnering with customers, educational institutions and communities, Vergnano said in a speech that was interspersed with brief company videos.

Vergnano said one of the company’s goals is increasing the percentage of its female workforce from about 23 percent to 50 percent.

The Chemours CEO looked back at the rocky early days of the company when it was spun off from DuPont and faced a heavy debt load, environmental liabilities and skepticism from the investment community that sent its stock from $20 to $3 a share.

Shares of the company rose to as high as $56 a share and are now at $32.

Vergnano said the company went to work to simplify its structure and reduce its debt load. Painful decisions were made to close plants, he noted.

The Chemours CEO praised the efforts of employees in coming up with ideas that improved efficiencies and money-saving ideas.

The company remains committed to being a good corporate citizen in Delaware and worldwide.

Vergnano made no mention of issues in North Carolina regarding Chemours chemicals found in waterways.

He did mention the company’s efforts with a Future of Chemistry scholarship program for Wilmington students.

Earlier in the evening, Gov. John Carney told the nearly 1,000 people in attendance that the state is off to a good start in 2019.

Carney reported the DelawareEconomic Development Partnership has made progress by helping to attract and retain 1,900 jobs in the state and praised the efforts of Prosperity Partnership President Kurt Foreman.

The public-private partnership was part of a restructuring of the former Delaware Economic Development Office.

Carney said the state’s $200 million budget surplus as a plus for the state and also a challenge. He cautioned that the state needs to remain careful on the spending front, knowing that a downturn will come at some point.

Carney has pushed for budget smoothing, a process that sets aside funds during good times to balance out lower revenues during downturns.

The governor typically makes general remarks about the economy at the January Chamber dinner prior to making a State of the State and budget messages before the General Assembly.

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