Title and Description Page
Childhood and early education 1
Lipton’s youth in a Bronx, working-class neighborhood. Schooling at PS-102. The atmosphere and students at Bronx High School of Science. Working-class identity.
Higher education and early work experience 15
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: chemical engineering curriculum, school politics, and leadership. Summer job at Tidewater Oil Company.
Harvard Business School and early years at DuPont 23
Takes a position at the DuPont pigments plant in Newark, Delaware. The decision to attend business school. DuPont special assignment to upgrade warehousing and distribution system. Turns down an invitation to work in sales. Moves to pigments plant in Newport, Delaware.
Career at DuPont: pigments and new businesses 31
Accepts second invitation to join sales in Wilmington, Delaware. Starts successful new business based on tailings of ilmenite mine in Florida. Called upon again to determine how to get rid of excess ferric chloride from New Jersey plants; establishes a solution to sell excess to water treatment plants, where it is used as agglomerate. At age twenty-nine is named the business manager and the head of marketing for color pigments. Prioritizes sales of pigments. Effects of 1979-1980 recession on business. Moves to purchasing. Interactions with Irving Shapiro.
Career at DuPont: development and photo products 47
DuPont’s acquisition of Conoco. Becomes director of development division. Tyvek, Viaflo, and lessons about falling in love with new technology. The photo products department and the pricing problem of silver. The x-ray film sales force. Lipton’s time as COO of New England Nuclear, acquired by DuPont.
Career at DuPont: polymers and beyond 61
Developing public speaking skills. Transition to heading the polymers division, an international business. Interactions with and reflections on Ed Woolard. The deterioration of the polymers business. Lipton’s move to planning and his development of cash flow cycle time. The process of negotiating a deal between ICI and DuPont. Lipton’s thoughts on DuPont’s evolution. The complexity of DuPont. The role of the “business school guy” at DuPont.
Nova Chemicals Corporation: through 1999 76
Interactions with Ted Newell and Nick Pappas lead to recruitment for Nova as CFO. A brief history of Nova. The process of leaving DuPont. The Methanex Corporation and the spinoff of Nova Chemicals. The polystyrene and styrene businesses at Nova.
Nova Chemicals Corporation: the 2000s 98
Nova’s management philosophy. Surviving 2001, a difficult year for commodity chemicals. Safety at Nova. Consolidation and joint ventures. 2008 and 2009 and the loss of financial system support. The initial talks with Abu Dhabi firm International Petroleum Investment Co. (IPIC).
Final Thoughts 114
Differentiation in the chemical commodity business. Future evolution of the chemical commodity business from a stock market perspective. The possibilities for United States chemical companies and shale gas. The role of board members of chemical companies and difficulties in recruiting good board members. What Lipton has learned about managing technology. Thoughts on influential people in Lipton’s career.
Appendix: Photographs from the 2009 Society of Chemical Industry Awards dinner 132