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Vincent A. Calarco

Vincent Calarco

Detail of Image, CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas Lockard

  • Born: May 29, 1942, New York, New York

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0212
Interview Date: November 29, 2000
Location: Greenwich, Connecticut
Interviewer: Arnold Thackray
No. of pages: 47
Minutes: 156
Sponsor: Society of Chemical Industry
Society of Chemical Industry

  Abstract of Interview

Vincent Calarco begins the interview with a discussion of his childhood years in New York City. Calarco was an ambitious and hard-working student who enjoyed chemistry and had a firm desire to attend college. After graduation from New York High School, Calarco attended Polytechnic University of New York, receiving his B.S. in chemical engineering in 1963. While excelling in the intense environment at Polytechnic University, Calarco worked as a draftsman for Syska and Hennessey during the summers. In the summer of 1962, Calarco accepted an internship at Proctor & Gamble's Port Ivory facility on Staten Island. After graduating from Polytechnic, Calarco spent the summer in Europe before returning to work for Proctor & Gamble in September 1963. Proctor & Gamble relocated Calarco to St. Louis in January 1964, where he remained for two years. From 1966 to 1968, Calarco served in the U.S. Army at the Ballistics Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland. After his military service, he briefly worked for Johnson & Johnson before attending Harvard University Graduate School of Business. Calarco received his MBA in 1970 and began a new career at NL Industries that same year. After eight years with NL, Calarco decided to join Uniroyal Chemical Company as General Manager of chemicals and polymers. The next year, 1979, Calarco became President of Uniroyal at the age of thirty-six. Calarco set high-standards for employees at Uniroyal and enjoyed the challenges of his position. In 1985 Calarco left Uniroyal and became the CEO of Crompton & Knowles (Crompton Corporation), where he is currently Chairman of the Board. Calarco performed a major reorganization and restructure to Crompton upon his arrival. His efforts advanced Crompton from a seven hundred million-dollar company the 3.1 billion-dollar corporation that exists today. Calarco concludes the interview with a discussion about his role in the chemical industry community and thoughts on his family and future endeavors.


1963 B.S., Chemical Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of New York University
1970 M.B.A. Harvard Business School

  Professional Experience

United States Army

1966 - 1968

NL Industries

1970 - 1974 Chemicals Group, finance and planning

NL Industries

1974 - 1978 Business Manager, Specialty Chemicals and Plastics Additives, Industrial Chemicals Division

Uniroyal, Inc.

1978 - 1979 General Manager, Uniroyal Chemical Company, Chemicals and Polymers

Uniroyal, Inc.

1979 - 1984 President, Uniroyal Chemical Company

Uniroyal, Inc.

1979 - 1984 Vice President

Uniroyal, Inc.

1984 - 1985 Corporate Vice President, Strategy and Development

Crompton & Knowles (Crompton Corporation)

1985 - present President and Chief Executive Officer

Crompton & Knowles (Crompton Corporation)

1986 - present Chairman of the Board


1995 - 1996 Chairman, Chemical Manufacturers Association
1998 Management Excellence Award, Chemical Marketing Research Association
1998 - 1999 President, Society of Chemical Industry (American Section)
1998 - 2000 World President, Society of Chemical Industry, London
2000 Achievement Award, Commercial Development Association
2000 Chemical Industry Award, Society of Chemical Industry (American Section)

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Early Years 1

Growing up on Staten Island. Parents and family. Academic drive. Interest in chemistry in high school. Decision to attend Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (Polytechnic University of New York).

Education and Early Years 6

Environment at Brooklyn Poly. Chemical engineering program. Working for Syska and Hennessey. Summer internship at Proctor & Gamble. Spending summer after graduation in Europe. Position at Proctor & Gamble. Move to St. Louis. Return to New York in 1966. Military draft. Officer Candidate School. Serving at Aberdeen Ballistics Research Laboratory. Johnson & Johnson. Attending Harvard University Graduate School of Business. Working in Admissions Department.

Career in Chemical Industry 15

Position with NL Industries. Marriage to Linda in 1971. Accepting the position to run the Industrial Chemical Division. Lead oxide business. Decision to leave NL Industries for Uniroyal Chemical Company. Uniroyal Chemical and Polymers Division. Becoming president of Uniroyal. Challenges of the position as president.

Later Career 21

Becoming CEO of Crompton Corporation. Restructuring and reorganization. Consolidation with Witco. Pressures on the American chemical industry. Setting strong goals for communication and development. Kirkpatrick Award. Comparing U.S. industry to European industry.

Conclusion 28

Involvement in chemical industry community. American Chemical Council. Responsible Care. Society of Chemical Industry. Chemists' Club. Influential leaders in chemical industry. Sons: David and Christopher. Future career visions.

Index 37

  About the Interviewer

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.

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