Umicore announces changes to its management board

January 20, 2021

Umicore, a global materials technology and recycling group headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, has announced changes to its management board, with Stephan Csoma, Denis Goffaux, Ralph Kiessling and Bart Sap altering roles.

Stephan Csoma, Executive vice-president Recycling, will retire on March 31, 2021, after a long and successful career within the group spanning several business and regional responsibilities. Csoma joined Umicore in 1992 and established its first industrial activity in China.

Prior to joining the management board in 2012, he led the Zinc Chemicals business unit, Umicore’s operations in Brazil and government affairs activities. As Executive vice-president, Csoma has overseen the successful divestment of the Zinc Chemicals, Building Products and Technical Materials businesses as Umicore was aiming its strategic focus on clean mobility materials and recycling. In recent years, Csoma is said to have led Umicore’s Recycling to new levels of performance.

Marc Grynberg, Umicore CEO, commented, “While I am obviously sad to see Stephan go, I respect his decision and am grateful for his invaluable contribution to Umicore’s growth story over the past twenty-eight years. It has been great to work closely with him and benefit from his sharp insights. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to him and wish him the very best for the next chapter of his life.”

Denis Goffaux has been appointed to succeed Csoma as Executive vice-president Recycling, effective April 1, 2021. Goffaux joined Umicore in 1995 and, in 2000, set up the group’s first cathode materials plant in Cheonan, South Korea. He has assumed business and country management responsibilities in China and Japan and, in 2010, joined the management board as Chief Technology Officer.

In this capacity, Goffaux developed Umicore’s technological innovation capabilities and roadmap in alignment with the group’s strategic ambitions. Between 2015–2018, he combined the CTO role with the leadership for the business unit Precious Metals Refining.

Since 2018, Goffaux has been in charge of Umicore’s Rechargeable Battery Materials activities and has strengthened the position of the group in a highly competitive battery materials space. Goffaux brings combined technical background and international business experience, including in the business unit Precious Metals Refining, which the group explains will be key in addressing the long-term opportunities and challenges of the Recycling segment.

Ralph Kiessling has been appointed to succeed Goffaux as Executive vice-president Energy & Surface Technologies effective March 1, 2021. Kiessling joined Degussa in 1995 and Umicore in 2003 upon the acquisition of PMG. He has occupied successive management functions in the Catalysis segment in Europe and Asia covering finance, production, process technology and engineering.

Kiessling joined the management board in early 2019 as Executive vice-president Catalysis and started to prepare the automotive catalyst business to face a new market reality with less demand for combustion engines. Kiessling has also overseen the successful development of Umicore’s activities in fuel cells and stationary catalysts. His experience in the automotive industry, combined with a strong focus on technology and cost leadership, will be key as Umicore continues to scale up its Rechargeable Battery Materials business.

Bart Sap has been appointed to succeed Kiessling as Executive vice-president Catalysis effective March 1, 2021. Sap holds a Master’s Degree in Commercial Science from Vlekho in Brussels, Belgium, with majors in Accountancy and Taxation. He joined Umicore in 2004 as a controller for Cobalt & Specialty Materials and, after successive assignments in Korea and Belgium covering finance; the supply of raw materials; business development and refining operations, he became Senior vice-president for Cobalt & Specialty Materials and Supply at the beginning of 2020.

The group states that Sap’s strategic and commercial acumen, combined with his operational experience and financial background, will prove critical in the next development phases of the Catalysis segment. His deep knowledge of the battery materials value chain and competitive landscape will also be an asset to the management board.

Grynberg added, “I am convinced that the Management Board in its new configuration is very well prepared to achieve Umicore’s growth ambitions and address the challenges our businesses may face. I am very much looking forward to welcoming Bart on board and to continuing our exciting growth journey with my other colleagues from the Management Board as well as all Umicore’s employees.”

The other management board functions of Marc Grynberg (CEO), Filip Platteeuw (CFO) Géraldine Nolens (Chief Counsel) and An Steegen (CTO) remain unchanged.

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