Wednesday, March 6, 2024

NYT obit on Frank Popoff

Via the New York Times, an obituary for a former Dow CEO: 

Frank Popoff, a chief executive and chairman who tried to make Dow Chemical more conciliatory toward regulators and environmentalists in the late 1980s and ’90s, and who prodded the chemical industry to adopt safer practices, died on Feb. 25 at his home in Midland, Mich., where Dow is based. He was 88.

...Inspired by a high school teacher who had been gassed while fighting in World War I, Mr. Popoff studied chemistry at Indiana University, where he earned both a bachelor’s degree and master of business administration degree in the same year, 1959.

He did not want to be a chemist, however.

“Perhaps I lacked the creativity and the vision that successful chemists have,” he said in an interview in 2012 with the Chemical Heritage Foundation (now the Science History Institute, in Philadelphia). “I was really interested in the commercialization and application of chemistry.”

He joined Dow in 1959 and stayed with the company for 41 years. He worked in its urethane laboratory, then in technical services and chemical sales in the early 1960s. Over the next quarter century, he moved into increasingly influential positions: president of Dow Europe in 1981, executive vice president of Dow Chemical in 1985 and, two years later, president and chief executive. He was named chairman in 1992....

I am surprised that no one (that I am aware of) has done a study of Dow and DuPont CEOs and where they got their start. It'd be interesting to know the most probable trajectories to senior leadership, and what were the most important waystations. 

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looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20