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Our leadership team


Phil McDivitt

Phil McDivitt

President and Chief Executive Officer

Phil McDivitt brings more than 30 years' industry experience to Ascend Performance Materials. He sits on the board of directors of Ascend and the TPC Group, and serves on the board of directors of the American Chemistry Council. He joined Ascend in 2015.



Kevin Bartol

Kevin Bartol

Chief Financial Officer

Kevin Bartol has 30 years of experience in finance, operations, sales and marketing. He came to Ascend in August 2015 from the Rowan Companies, where he was executive vice president and CFO. Previously, he served as CFO, chief sales officer at Jindal Texas Works and COO at Network International Inc. He also is a founder of Saint Arnold Brewing Co.



Debbie Keehn

Debbie Keehn

Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer

Debbie brings over 30 years experience across leadership roles in the oil, gas and chemical industries. She has accelerated strategic change initiatives in financial shared services, procurement, IT, human resources and supply chain. Debbie is currently leading Ascend’s supply chain to deliver global agility.



Carole Wendt

Carole Wendt

Senior Vice President, Global Procurement, and Chief Procurement Officer

Carole Wendt has a wealth of international experience in the procurement of indirect and direct materials, supply chain and operations. Before joining Ascend in March 2010, she worked 28 years at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. as director of supply chain, general manager of global synthetic rubber/monomer and director of North America purchasing.



Gustavo Nechar

Gustavo Nechar

Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Gustavo Nechar brings decades of HR experience to Ascend. Before joining the company in 2017, he held leadership roles with Dresser-Rand, WABCO Vehicle Control Systems, Valeo and Citrosuco, a Brazilian food and beverage company.



Brian Connelly

Brian Connelly

Senior Vice President, Operations

Brian Connelly joined Ascend in 2017 as the site director for the Chocolate Bayou facility and became vice president of operations in 2019. His 30-year career in manufacturing includes leadership roles at Celanese, Air Products and Chemicals, BASF and Dow Chemical.



Vikram Gopal

Vikram Gopal

Senior Vice President, Technology

Vikram Gopal has broad experience in the advanced materials industry with expertise in research and development, product development, process engineering and applications development. Before joining Ascend in May 2015, he was vice president of technology at Invista Engineering Polymer Solutions. He is credentialed as a Six Sigma black belt.



Isaac Khalil

Isaac Khalil

Senior Vice President, Polyamides

Isaac Khalil has more than 30 years of specialty materials industry experience. He joined Ascend in March 2020 as senior vice president of polyamides. His prior roles include global vice president at Celanese, general manager of Latin America at Honeywell and vice president and managing director of Europe at Minerals Technologies. 



Finlay Morrison

Finlay Morrison

Senior Vice President, Strategy and Growth

Finlay Morrison has more than 30 years of global chemicals industry experience. He joined Ascend in 2015 as VP of specialty chemicals before moving into his current strategy role. Previously, he was VP of the mining chemical solutions business at Clariant and CEO of Accsys Technologies.



Andrew Ralston

Andrew Ralston

Senior Vice President, General Counsel

Andrew Ralston has more than 30 years of experience practicing law in the energy and chemicals industries. He came to Ascend in 2009, following tenures as counsel for international law firms McDermott Will & Emery and Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP and senior counsel for Westlake Chemical Corp. and Valero Energy Corp.



Kevin Wu

Kevin Wu

Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific

Dr. Kevin Wu has more than 30 years of chemical industry experience, including various regional and global leadership roles at Rohm and Haas, Shanghai Chemspec Corporation and Celanese. He also served as an advisory member of the Committee of Multinationals within the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation as well as an advisory board member of the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers.



Riz Amanullah

Riz Amanullah

Vice President, Finance

Riz Amanullah brings a global and diverse skillset with experience across different industries. Prior to joining Ascend, he worked in various capacities including M&A, FP&A Treasury, sales and product development at the Eaton Corporation, Cooper Industries, and Verizon Wireless. Riz currently leads Ascend's Treasury and Corporate Development organizations.



Paul Cartlidge

Paul Cartlidge

Vice President, Environment, Security, Safety and Health

Paul Cartlidge has been with the organization for more than 25 years and served as the Chocolate Bayou site director for 12 years before assuming his role as the vice president of ESSH.



Amanda Castro

Amanda Castro

Vice President, Capital Projects and Engineering

Amanda Castro has over 35 years of experience in global production and project execution. Before joining Ascend in 2021, Amanda served as project director over a multi-billion-dollar joint venture for Dow Chemical. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidade Federal da Bahia and an MBA from the University of Michigan.



Jonathan Craig

Jonathan Craig

Vice President, Specialty Chemicals

Jonathan Craig joined Ascend in 2010 and was named VP of specialty chemicals in 2018. Previous roles at Ascend include senior director of supply chain and director of business planning and analysis. He also has held senior roles with Bigler LP and Biogen Idec.



John Ferguson

John Ferguson

Vice President, Procurement

John Ferguson has gained more than 20 years' experience and institutional knowledge from his wide range of roles at the company. He joined in 1996 as an engineer and led our intermediate chemicals business from 2008 to 2022, before joining our procurement organization. 



Alison Jahn

Alison Jahn

Vice President, Global Communications and External Affairs

Alison Jahn brings 20 years of corporate and crisis communications expertise and brand strategy development to Ascend. Before joining the company in 2015, Alison served as global director of communications for Univar and later as director of communications and marketing for Univar's Oil, Gas and Mining business.



John Saunders

John Saunders

Vice President, Europe

John Saunders brings decades of international leadership and business development experience to his role as head of Ascend's Europe team. Before joining Ascend in 2013, he was head of sales within BASF's engineering plastics unit, led commercial efforts for Allied Signal's nylon business and worked with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.



Lu Zhang

Lu Zhang

Vice President, Commercial

Dr. Lu Zhang has nearly two decades of experience in the development and commercialization of advanced materials. Prior to joining Ascend in 2020 as a commercial vice president for  Acteev™, Dr. Zhang held leadership positions at DSM and Celanese.



Sheree Fields

Sheree Fields

Senior Director, Information Technology

Sheree brings over 30 years of IT leadership primarily in the energy, oil and gas and chemical industries. Due to her background as a management consultant and CIO, she brings extensive experience in integrating acquisitions and driving digital transformation programs across all IT disciplines. Sheree is a Six Sigma Green belt and certified PMP.



Rachell Gold

Rachell Gold

Senior Director, Global Culture, Diversity and Inclusion

Rachell Gold has extensive experience in human resources leadership from a variety of roles at Ascend. In addition to leading culture, diversity and inclusion, she is also the executive director of the Ascend Cares Foundation.



Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson

Director, Sustainability

Chris Johnson has over 20 years of experience with Ascend Performance Materials and its predecessors. He has held a number of roles in operations, maintenance and reliability, and large project execution.