People and Leaders

Peter Vanacker, Person of the Year 2019

It was a logic decision to choose Peter Vanacker as the Person of the Year 2019. Peter has been this year's best CEO in the bioeconomy.

Peter was appointed CEO of Neste in February 2018.

He did the transition in September and October, and  started his tenure on the 1st of November 2018.

2019 was a very busy year for the bioeconomy and it was an incredible year for Peter and Neste.

Peter was able to set an incredible track record in terms of leadership in one year time.


Peter’s leadership can be summarised in three words: Safety, Sustainability and Strategy.

  • Safety to ensure his colleagues have a safe work environment.
  • Sustainability because of his desire to make the world a better place.
  • Strategy because Neste took important decisions and actions to define their vision and future.

Neste was able to define its vision and implement its strategy under the leadership of Peter. Let’s have a look at Neste’s achievements under the tenure of Peter.


  • Renewable Polymers and Chemicals

Neste started a collaboration with Lyondellbassell to realise a commercial-scale production of Bio-Based Plastic.

It combined Neste’s renewable feedstock expertise and LyondellBasell’s technical capabilities.

The output of this collaboration was a polymer that contained over 30% renewable content.

This was the first concrete steppingstone in Neste’s Bio-PP adventure.

Neste’s went further and partnered with Borealis AG to supply them with bio-based feedstock.

Finally, a global hub for Neste’s renewable polymers and chemicals was opened in Germany.

To complete the walk, the company sold its fuel retail operations in Russia.

  • Chemcycling

Neste took the decision to go into chemical recycling (chemcycling).

They identified two partners to start this adventure: Ravago (distributor and recycler of polymers) and Remondis (waste collection and sorting capabilities).

  • Business Development

Neste opened an office in Shanghai to purchase renewable waste and residue raw materials for the production of their renewable diesel.

They’ve also further invested in the expansion of their Singapore production plant and opened an office in Melbourne.

  • Communications and Marketing

Peter was a visible CEO who knew how to successfully articulate PR and social Media.

  • People

Peter is always there to support and encourage his colleagues.

Neste also appointed a new President for Neste US (Jeremy Baines) and a Vice President for Renewable Polymers and Chemicals (Mercedes Alonso) during Peter’s first year.

  • Artificial Intelligence

Neste made its first step into Artificial Intelligence with an AI-powered application to assist in their industrial operations.

Crown Jewel of Finland

The Boston Consulting Group did a survey in Finland and asked local business leaders what company they admired the most for their imagination.

Neste came up as a winner. It doesn’t happen very often that an energy company is considered as imaginative.

Neste always had a strong vision and strategy; so they needed a brilliant person to run the company.

Peter played his cards smartly: he talked the talk and walked the walk.

It looks like Peter and Neste are the perfect match. Peter was the right person at the right moment and he’s enjoying it.

Peter is a gentleman and would recognise the hard work and contribution of his colleagues in Neste’s achievements. However, there can only be one person of the year.

Let’s congratulate Peter Vanacker for his great achievements and contribution to the bioeconomy, and for being the Bio-champion of 2019.



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