The Chemical Industry at the Millennium: Maturity, Restructuring, and Globalization

The Chemical Industry at the Millennium

Edited by Peter H. Spitz
2003, Chemical Heritage Foundation
400 pp, notes, bibl, index
Cloth, 6 x 9, ISBN 0-941901-34-3
$45.00

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The global chemistry industry is big business and growing every year. But impressive growth has not recently impressed investors, and increasingly both individuals and money managers have turned to other areas of the economy for better returns. A 4-percent growth rate throughout the 1990s was not enough to keep U.S. chemical companies from seeking opportunities in more rapidly growing regions with low-cost feedstocks, and the U.S. trade balance in chemicals turned downward in the late nineties; by 2001 chemical imports exceeded exports.

Why has an industry that provides so many of the essentials of modern life been so severely challenged? In The Chemical Industry at the Millennium, Peter Spitz and a team of industry experts look at this complex and fascinating industry. Concentrating on basic and specialty chemicals, chapter authors examine many of the trends and market factors that have affected the chemical industry in the recent past. The book offers an insider’s view of the restructuring and reengineering crazes and the improvements and roadblocks offered by information technology and the Internet. Other factors that came into play include the impact of environmental regulations and globalization, and the financial community’s demand for greater shareholder value, and each is discussed in turn.

The Chemical Industry at the Millennium is a must read for industry professionals and anyone else interested in the changes and challenges facing a great and essential industry.

What the experts are saying:

"This is a penetrating, thought-provoking look at the evolution of the chemical industry over the past several decades. The broad set of perspectives provided here gives unique context for understanding and responding to future opportunities for our industry. A most valuable resource for industry, government, and academic leaders."
--Robert C. Armstrong, Chevron Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Peter Spitz’s new book combines sophisticated thinking about industry evolution and competitive strategy with in-depth knowledge of the chemical sector to paint an insightful picture of historical developments and current challenges."
--Pankaj Ghemawat, Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

About the Editor:

Peter H. Spitz has impressive credentials for writing about the evolution of the global chemical industry. After obtaining bachelor’s and masters’ degrees in chemical engineering from MIT, Spitz held successive management positions at Esso Engineering and Scientific Design Company (which successfully developed a number of petrochemical processes) before founding Chem Systems, a leading international management consulting firm. He has written extensively on the industry, including a previous book, Petrochemicals: The Rise of an Industry. He recently cofounded Chemical Advisory Partners.

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CHF’s Center for Oral History captures and preserves the stories of notable figures in chemistry and related fields. Many of the oral histories in the collection belong to winners of CHF’s awards, including

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