JPS Luncheon: Rajiv L. Gupta, “Renewal and Transformation: The J. T. Baker/Avantor Story”

Joseph Priestley

Rajiv L. Gupta

This installment of the Joseph Priestley Society (JPS) lecture series included a keynote address by Rajiv L. Gupta, executive chairman, Avantor Performance Materials, and senior advisor, New Mountain Capital; formerly chairman and CEO, Rohm and Haas Company. Gupta presented “Renewal and Transformation: The J. T. Baker/Avantor Story.”

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Avantor Performance Materials was created in 2010 when an affiliate of New Mountain Capital acquired the Mallinckrodt Baker chemical company from Covidien. After the acquisition New Mountain provided a new name for the company, whose rich history in pharmaceutical and laboratory chemicals dates back to the original Mallinckrodt Chemical Company (founded in 1867) and the J. T. Baker Chemical Company (founded in 1904). Today Avantor has a new vision of becoming a leader in the performance-materials industry.

About the speaker

Raj L. Gupta joined Rohm and Haas in 1971 as a financial analyst. He held positions of increasing responsibility during the subsequent decade, including a two-year stint as special assistant to the president of the company. In 1979 he began work for the company in Europe, first as financial manager of the U.K. subsidiary, then as strategic planning director for the region, and finally as assistant manager for the company's substantial operations in France.

In 1984 Gupta was named business manager for Ion Exchange Resins in Europe. In 1987 he took on the responsibilities of business director for Plastics in Europe. Two years later Gupta became business unit director for the worldwide Plastics Additives business. He was elected a vice president of the company and was named director for the Pacific Region in 1993. Early in 1996 Gupta became one of six members of the Chairman's Committee and was given oversight responsibility for the company’s Electronic Materials business group. In December 1998 he was elected to the board of directors and in January 1999 was named vice chairman. He became chairman and chief executive officer on October 1, 1999. Gupta assumed the additional title of president in early 2005 and held that title until May 2008. He is now executive chairman of Avantor and a senior advisor at New Mountain Capital.

Gupta holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (1967), an M.S. in operations research from Cornell University (1969), and an M.B.A. in finance from Drexel University (1972). He is a past chairman of the American Chemistry Council and the Society of Chemical Industry, America Section. He sits on the Board of Trustees for the Conference Board and also serves on the boards of Tyco, the Vanguard Group, Hewlett-Packard Company, and Delphi Automotive.


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