REDMOND, Wash., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Univar Inc., a leading global chemical distributor, announced today that J. Erik (Erik) Fyrwald will join Univar as president and chief executive officer effective May 7. Fyrwald, age 52, is currently president of Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies that merged with Nalco in December 2011. Fyrwald will also become a member of Univar's board of directors.
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As a result of the addition of Fyrwald to the executive team, Univar's current President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John J. Zillmer will assume the position of executive chairman of Univar and its board of directors, succeeding William S. Stavropoulos, who will move to the role of lead director. As executive chairman, Zillmer will continue to focus on leadership development, corporate strategy, and the company's global growth initiatives.
"This is a great opportunity for Univar to continue strengthening its leadership team and business momentum," said Univar President and CEO, John Zillmer. "At Nalco, Erik brought focused attention to creating the capabilities needed to support the company's dynamic growth. With his record of strong business leadership and results, the board of directors and I are very confident in his ability to help lead Univar as we continue to expand our global footprint."
Fyrwald brings extensive global experience to his new role with Univar. Prior to the merger with Ecolab in 2011, he was chairman and chief executive officer at Nalco. Before joining Nalco in 2008, Fyrwald held several executive positions during his 27-year career at DuPont, including group vice president of DuPont's Agriculture and Nutrition division and vice president of DuPont's Nutrition and Health business. Fyrwald earned a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Fyrwald serves as a Director of Eli Lilly and Company, the Society of Chemical Industry, the American Chemistry Council, the Chicago Public Education Fund and is a Trustee of the Field Museum of Chicago.
"I am pleased to be joining a strong Univar team," said Univar President and Chief Executive Officer-Elect, Erik Fyrwald. "As we build on Univar's successes, we will be looking for more opportunities to execute key strategies and strengthen Univar's leadership position in the global marketplace."
Univar's current chairman of the board William S. Stavropoulos will remain on the board as lead director.
"Univar has experienced tremendous growth in the past several years," said William S. Stavropoulos, current chairman of Univar's board of directors. "John's continued focus on leadership development, corporate strategy, and the company's growth initiatives, coupled with Erik's strong industry and international experience, provide Univar with a strong team to accelerate global growth and expansion."
Univar continues to be primarily owned by private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Clayton Dubilier & Rice with its remaining equity held by Univar management and other existing investors.
Univar is one of the world's leading distributors of industrial and specialty chemicals. Univar represents over 2,500 chemical producers and provides its customer base, made up of 80,000 customers, with a full portfolio of products. Univar operates a network of 300 distribution facilities throughout North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America, with additional sales offices located in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In 2011, Univar reported sales of $9.7 billion. For more information, visit: www.univar.com.
SOURCE Univar Inc.