Large For-Profit CEO of the Year – Mark Newman, Chemours President & CEO
“Being a CEO means you’re always on,” said Mark Newman, president and CEO of Wilmington-based Chemours. “You realize that you don’t have the luxury of re-thinking every decision that needs to be made. As a result, you know there will always be Monday-morning quarterbacking.”
So far, Newman’s instant-replay moments have been very good. Company revenues have reached new highs since he ascended to the leadership of the global chemical company in 2021, increasing by 22% over pre-pandemic levels. Also during his tenure, Chemours co-founded the Center for Clean Hydrogen at the University of Delaware and exhibited leadership in aiding scientific education leadership with the creation of the STEM Hub at EasSide Charter School in Wilmington’s Riverside community. Within Chemours, Newman led the division of its Fluoropolymers Segment into two independent divisions to advance next-generation, global-warming-positive products.
Prior to joining Chemours as CFO in 2014, Newman held a similar position at SunCoke Energy, and previously had top finance and operations positions in the United States and China, primarily with General Motors, where he began his career in 1986.
“It’s just an honor to be able to lead such accomplished and passionate teams as we have at Chemours,” Newman said. “Our people are dedicated, smart and care about the larger community.”
Leading these teams, he said, means “you have to focus on the big things and the right things, and to do so quickly. With so much going on, it can be easy to become distracted.”
As a result, he said, there is a roadmap of five strategic priorities that gets the bulk of his attention.
As a member of the American Chemical Council, Newman can compare notes about today’s business environment with industry colleagues, plus he has built consulting relations through the years which he can turn to for outside advice. Internally, he regularly meets with each of his direct reports one-on-one.
“Although I’m not officially a mentor any longer, there are five or six people in the organization that I meet with at least once a quarter,” he said.
Conversely, he realizes that being CEO sometimes means having to make unpleasant personnel decisions from time to time.
“I believe if there is a personnel issue or problem, you need to deal with it quickly,” Newman said. “Someone once told me, ‘If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it for too long.’”