THE WOODLANDS, Texas—Jon Huntsman Sr. will step down Dec. 31 as executive chairman of Huntsman Corp., the firm he founded almost half a century ago.
Huntsman's son, Peter, will become chairman Jan. 1. The role of executive chairman will be eliminated.
Peter Huntsman already serves as president and CEO of the materials company based in The Woodlands. Jon Huntsman will continue to serve as chairman emeritus and as a board member. The firm announced the moves in a Dec. 19 news release.
"I am honored to be taking on this responsibility at a time when the company has never been stronger and had more opportunities before it," Peter Huntsman said in the release. "This will be a smooth transition as our founder, my father, will continue in a valuable capacity as a board member, maintaining vital relations with customers, suppliers, and policy makers as well as sharing his total 56 years of industry experience."
Jon Huntsman Sr. added in the release that "it's a high honor to turn the chairmanship role over to Peter Huntsman, who I consider to be one of the world's outstanding CEOs."
Huntsman Corp. "will continue to experience its sound growth and strong financial controls under Peter's experienced oversight," Jon Huntsman said. "It has been both a great challenge and a special privilege to be chairman for almost half a century."
Jon Huntsman has received numerous industry awards in his long career, including membership in the Plastics Hall of Fame and a leadership award for lifetime achievement from the American Chemical Society.
The personnel announcement wraps up a tumultuous year for Huntsman Corp., a world-scale producer of polyurethanes, pigments, advanced materials, performance products and textile effects. The firm announced in May that it was merging with specialty chemicals and plastics maker Clariant International Ltd. of Switzerland, but the merger was called off in October after investors objected.
Jon Huntsman founded Huntsman Corp. in Salt Lake City in 1970 as a plastic foam packaging maker. The firm's early products included polystyrene egg cartons and the iconic PS clamshell for McDonald's Big Mac.
Huntsman Corp. expanded through a series of strategic acquisitions. The firm now employs 10,000 and has annual sales of around $7 billion.