Celanese Hires Albemarle’s Mark Rohr as CEO; Weidman to Retire

Celanese Corp., the world’s biggest maker of acetyl chemicals, hired Albemarle Corp. Chairman Mark Rohr as its chairman and chief executive officer, replacing David N. Weidman who will retire after seven years at the helm.

The appointment of Rohr, 59, who has been a Celanese director since 2007, will become effective April 2, Dallas-based Celanese said today in a statement. Weidman is departing “to focus on personal interests including his family, faith and philanthropy,” W. Travis Jacobsen, a Celanese spokesman, said in an e-mail.

“Weidman is a loss. He has performed somewhere between good and remarkable,” Paul Leming, a New York-based analyst at Ticonderoga Securities who recommends buying the shares, said in an interview. “No matter how good Rohr is, bringing in someone from outside the organization entails risk.”

Weidman, 56, joined Celanese in 2000 and became CEO in 2004 after the company relocated to the U.S. from Germany. He led the company through its initial public offering in 2005 and was named chairman in 2007. Weidman focused expansion efforts in China by boosting production of chemicals such as acetic acid, used to make polyester and coatings, using low-cost, coal-based raw materials.

In March, Weidman established the Weidman Center for Global Leadership at the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University, his alma mater.

Rohr stepped aside as CEO of specialty chemicals maker Albemarle in September. He will give up his role as chairman on Feb. 1, Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Albemarle said in a separate statement. Jim W. Nokes will succeed Rohr as chairman of Albemarle, while CEO Luke Kissam joined its board effective Nov. 2, the company said.

“Mark is exceptionally well prepared for this role,” Weidman said in the Celanese statement. “I’m highly confident in the company’s future under Mark’s leadership.”

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