Several individuals have been named to new executive positions within PPG Industries, effective July 1. These appointments include:
  • Michael H. McGarry, senior vice president, commodity chemicals
  • Pierre-Marie De Leener, senior vice president, architectural coatings EMEA, and president, PPG Europe
  • Richard C. Elias, senior vice president, optical and specialty materials
  • Viktor Sekmakas, president, PPG Asia/Pacific
  • Paula Shepard, vice president, silicas
  • Sharon Piciacchio, vice president, chlor-alkali marketing, services and cal-hypo
McGarry joined PPG in 1981 as an engineer at the company’s Lake Charles, LA, chemicals complex. He progressed through assignments such as market development manager, silica products; operations manager, silicas, Thailand; business manager, Teslin sheet; and product manager in the derivatives, chlorine, liquid and dry caustic soda businesses. McGarry was appointed general manager, fine chemicals, in 2000; vice president, chlor-alkali and derivatives in 2004; and vice president, coatings, and managing director, PPG Europe, in 2006. In his new position, McGarry will join PPG’s Operating Committee with responsibility for PPG’s Commodity Chemicals reporting segment and chlor-alkali and derivatives business unit.

De Leener, who joined PPG with the January 2 acquisition of the SigmaKalon Group, is currently senior vice president, architectural coatings EMEA. With this assignment, De Leener will assume responsibilities previously held by McGarry and will be based in PPG’s European headquarters in Rolle, Switzerland. De Leener was the Chief Executive Officer of the SigmaKalon Group until he joined PPG in January. A native of Antwerp, Belgium, De Leener joined Sigma Coatings Group, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1997 as chief operating officer. He subsequently became CEO of Sigma Coatings Group in 1998 and CEO of the SigmaKalon Group in 1999. Before joining Sigma, De Leener was general manager at Fina Research, Feluy, Belgium; CEO, Fina Italiana and Refinery, Rome; COO, Fina Italiana; regional manager, Fina Oil and Chemicals Company, Texas; marketing planning manager, Fina Oil and Chemicals; manager of production operations, Zairep, Zaire; and analyst at PetroFina, Brussels, Belgium.

Elias joined PPG in 1975 as a chemist at the company’s Allison Park, Pa., coatings research and development center. He advanced through several product-development assignments, becoming program manager for photochromic lenses in 1989. Elias was named vice president of sales and marketing when Transitions Optical, Inc., was established in 1990, and he became that business’s president in 1995 and its chief executive officer in 2007. In 1998, Elias was named general manager of optical products for PPG, and he was elected vice president, optical products, in early 2000. Elias will have complete responsibility for the Optical and Specialty Materials reporting segment in his new role, adding oversight of PPG’s silicas business to his current responsibilities, and will maintain his offices in Monroeville, Pa., and Pinellas Park, Fla. Sekmakas joined PPG in 1997 as market development manager for powder coatings and moved to the Asia/Pacific region in 2001, becoming managing director, coatings, and general manager, industrial coatings, Asia, in March 2005. He was named vice president, coatings, and managing director, Asia/Pacific, in June 2006, and will retain his current responsibilities with the new title of president, PPG Asia/Pacific.

Shepard joined PPG in 1977 as a customer service representative in the industrial coatings business and held several sales positions before being named senior purchasing agent in 1988. She joined the silicas business as marketing manager, industrial and carrier applications, in 1995, and was named director, sales and marketing, silicas, in 2000. Four years later, Shepard was appointed to her current position.

Piciacchio joined PPG in 1981 as a senior fleet coordinator, and in 1983 was appointed supervisor, fleet operations. In 1985, she became customer service coordinator, and in 1988, she was named account representative, inorganic chemicals. Piciacchio was named manager, transportation, for the chlor-alkali business in 1994; director, logistics and customer service, in 1999; director, sales and customer service, in 2002; and director, marketing and logistics, the following year. She was appointed to her current position in 2006.

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