Jim Seward

Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Technology & Sustainability, Lyondellbasell

Jim Seward is Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Technology & Sustainability for LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies. Seward’s career spans more than 30 years with the company, holding a variety of positions including leading the Technology and International O&P business.

Seward is the chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Plastics Council, an organization representing the global plastics industry focused on international issues such as resource management, sustainability and marine litter.

Seward holds a Master of Science degree in chemistry from Bristol University and a Master of Business Administration from Cranfield University, both located in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Waleed Al-Shalfan

Vice President Polymer Technology & Innovation, SABIC

Dr. Waleed Al-Shalfan is currently Vice President Polymer Technology & Innovation, SABIC. Waleed started his career within SABIC, as a Physical Metallurgy Scientist, and since 2006, has held several key leadership posts. Prior to his current position, he served as Vice President of Polypropylene and Polyolefin Compounding Business Unit, Vice President of HDPE/PVC/PS Business Unit, General Manager of Corporate Research and Venturing, and General Manager of KSA Technology Centers.

He holds a PhD degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Colorado School of Mines, USA, a Master degree in Advanced Metallurgy from Sheffield University, UK, and a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Waleed served as Board Vice Chairman, Saudi Petrochemical Company (Sadaf); Board Member, Saudi European Petrochemical Company (IbnZahr); and as SABIC representative in the Supervisory Committee of the National Plan for Science and Technology. He is currently Board Vice Chairman, Board Audit Committee Member, and Risk Management Committee Member, Saudi Kayan. Waleed is a Member in the Executive Committee of the World Plastics Council (WPC), and also a Board Member in the Saudi Investment Recycling Company. He has delivered many presentations, and has published various technical papers, at regional and international forums.

Benny Mermans

Benny Mermans

Vice President, Sustainability for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC

Benny Mermans is Vice President Sustainability for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, a worldwide producer and marketer of petrochemical products equally owned by Chevron Corporation and Phillips 66.

Corporate experience extends across Exxon Chemical Company to Imperial Chemical Industries and for the past 30 years with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, previously Phillips Petroleum.

Most recently he held the position of general manager of Europe, Africa and Middle East region, including the Chevron Phillips Chemical’s manufacturing operations in Belgium. Before being appointed as EAME region general manager, he held several managerial roles in technical, sales and operational functions for Chevron Phillips Chemical and its predecessor Phillips Petroleum, now Phillips 66.

Mermans holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from CTL in Ghent, Belgium.

Mark Nikolich

Vice-President, North America, Braskem

Mark Nikolich holds a B.A. in Business Administration focusing on Marketing and Finance from Gettysburg College with executive studies at Columbia University and The Wharton School.

Nikolich started his career in polypropylene sales for Himont in 1988. Through tenure at Basell, Epsilon, and Sunoco, he has worked in the polyolefins and olefins industries for over 25 years. In 2010, he transitioned to Braskem after the acquisition of Sunoco Chemicals where he held various senior leadership positions in polymers, phenol, and refining chemicals. Nikolich established and led Braskem’s operations in Europe for three years after the acquisition of Dow’s polypropylene business in 2011. He and his family returned to the U.S. in 2014 where he accepted the position to lead Braskem’s polypropylene business unit in the U.S.

Ajay Shah

President, Polymer Chain, Reliance Industries Limited

Mr. Ajay Shah graduated from IIT – Kanpur in 1981 with a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engg. and followed it up with a Masters in Financial Management from Bombay University.

The Professional Career of Mr. Ajay Shah has spanned over 37 years in the polymers and chemicals industry, primarily with two organizations, namely, National Organic Chemical Industries Limited (NOCIL) and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).  Joining NOCIL in 1981, he has experience in multiple functions including technology, operations research, manufacturing, corporate planning and communications, marketing and general management. The portfolios handled include a range of chemical and polymer products.

He also had an international experience with Shell Chemicals in The Hague, Netherlands for 3 years providing global technology support for the EO/EG and PO/Polyols range of products.

He joined Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in 2001.

In RIL too he has held a wide range of portfolios starting with the international business of polymers and subsequently being responsible for the PE, PP, PVC and Chemical business units over various periods. 

Currently, Mr. Ajay Shah is the President for Polymer Chain which includes the polymer, cracker and elastomer portfolio.

Li Shousheng

Chairman of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF)

Mr. Li Shousheng was born in March 1949. He graduated from the Management School of Xi’an Jiaotong University. Being a senior economist and MBA degree holder, he is now a visiting professor to Xi’an Jiaotong University and Beijing University of Chemical Technology.

Mr. Li Shousheng had served successively as Deputy Director-General of Shanxi Petrochemical Industry Department, Director-General of the Policies, Laws and Regulations Department of the Ministry of Chemical Industry (MCI), Director-General of the Planning Department of MCI, Deputy Director-General of the Industrial Policies Department of the State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC), Deputy Director-General, Director-General of the General Affairs Department of SETC, Director-General of the Bureau of Performance Assessment of State Administration of State-owned Assets (SASAC), Director of the Bureau of In-house Logistics of SASAC and a Member of SASAC CPC Committee. Mr. Li was elected to be the Executive Vice Chairman of CPCIF in May 2010, and has taken the position of Chairman & party secretary since 2015.

Mr. Li has been engaged in corporation management and macroeconomic performance analysis for a long time. He has led the establishment of the business performance evaluation system for state-owned companies and has very deep understanding of company and macroeconomic management. Mr. Li has published more than 200 articles and reports on national level journals and other publications

Markus Steilemann

Markus Steilemann

Chairman of the Board of Management of Covestro

Dr. Markus Steilemann has been Chairman of the Board of Management of Covestro since June 2018. His responsibilities include central areas such as Strategy, Sustainability, Human Resources and Communications. The strategic focus of his work is the company’s comprehensive orientation toward the Circular Economy.

Born in 1970 in Geilenkirchen, Germany, Steilemann studied chemistry at RWTH Aachen University and ETH Zurich. He completed his studies in Aachen with a doctorate, where he also earned a diploma in business administration.

In 1999, Steilemann began his professional career with the Bayer Group. From 2008, he held management positions in the Polycarbonates Business Unit of Bayer MaterialScience, Covestro’s predecessor organization. From 2013 to 2015, he headed the entire segment, headquartered in China, where he lived for several years.