The Chemours Company announced that Mark Newman, the company’s current Chief Operating Officer, will become President and Chief Executive Officer of Chemours, succeeding Mark Vergnano.
Vegnano has served as CEO since the company was spun off from DuPont in 2015.
Vergnano guided Chemours through a difficult period that included the coronavirus pandemic and investors, early in Chemours existence, driving down the company’s stock price to $4 a share on fears that environmental liabilities would lead to a bankruptcy filing.
Vergnano and the board also opted to keep the company in Delaware after offers from other states. Chemours is based at the former DuPont headquarters in Wilmington and operates a newly built research and development site at the University of Delaware STAR Campus in Newark.
Some analysts claimed Chemours was spun off as a way for DuPont to offload its liabilities that include “forever chemicals” that make their way into water supplies and rivers. Chemours continues to wrestle with the issue at its North Carolina site.
Chemours tangled with its former parent, claiming DuPont did not fully disclose environmental liabilities. However, after Chemours lost a legal battle over a mandatory arbitration agreement over disputes, the two companies settled their differences.
Chemours has remained solidly profitable and saw its stock price soar to nearly $60 a share. Shares currently trade at around $37 after speculative buying cooled down and it appeared that environmental issues would not go away.
Vergnano will retire from the company and will assume the position of non-executive chairman of the company’s board for the balance of 2021.
Vergnano succeeds Richard H. Brown, current chairman of the board, who has announced his intention to retire after leading the board for the last six years.
Dawn Farrell, who has served on the board since the company’s founding and is a member of the Audit Committee and Compensation Committee, will become the company’s lead independent director.
“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead Chemours,” Newman stated. “This is a tremendously strong company that is poised for continued growth. We have an unparalleled workforce of 6,500 people who are committed to responsibly meeting the demands of our changing world with our chemistry and products that enable modern life. This exciting moment would not have been possible without the hard work of our people, the collaborative relationships that we have with our customers, and the leadership of Mark Vergnano. I have worked beside Mark for the last six years, and I personally understand how significant his contributions have been. His dedicated leadership of the business and the passion with which he lives our Chemours values provide an example for all of us. I am delighted that Mark will remain part of Chemours and look forward to working with him as Board Chairman.”
“Leading Chemours and its people since the company’s founding has been an absolute honor and privilege,” Vergnano stated. “I am immensely proud of what we have achieved in establishing and then transforming ourselves into the solid company we are today. As an innovator and an industry leader in a continuously changing world, there is so much more ahead for us to achieve. Building on our firm foundation, Chemours has a bright future with strong growth opportunities, and no one is better suited to lead us into this future than Mark Newman. Mark has been a true partner in everything we’ve accomplished since day one, first as Chief Financial Officer and then as Chief Operating Officer.”
Newman joined Chemours in 2014 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He was instrumental in the launch of Chemours as a stand-alone, publicly traded company.
In 2019, Newman was appointed Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for the company’s global commercial businesses.
Throughout 2020, he also chaired the company’s Crisis Leadership Team, which oversaw the company’s global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before joining Chemours, Newman was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of SunCoke Energy, where he oversaw strategy, business development, and information technology.
Newman received his Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and earned his Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario.
Vergnano began his career at DuPont in 1980 as a process engineer and held various leadership positions before being named the first President and Chief Executive Officer of Chemours before its establishment as an independent company in 2015.