This is a top 10 Ranking of the most influential people in Bioplastics.
This ranking is based on my personal opinion having followed the news in 2021
Top 10 Most Influential People
- Martin Brudemuller, BASF
- Francois de Bie, Total Corbion
- Michael Stephen, Symphony Environmental
- David Newman, BBIA
- Lars Borger, Neste
- Andy Sweetman, Futamura
- Niall Dunne, Polymateria
- Daphna Nissenbaum, Tipa
- Tom van Aken, Avantium
- Markus Steilemann, Covestro
Martin’s power is not personal but institutional. He decides over BASF and BASF decides over European Bioplastics. Martin’s videos are not really good, German communication style.
Francois de Bie, Total Corbion
Francois is the big boss behind the scenes. He’s the people and institutional leader. He has a vision, strong technical skills and he’s passionate about what he’s doing what makes him a very good communicator. Under his leadership, Total Corbion was able to steel the crown from Novamont without anybody noticing. Almost worth an episode of Game of Thrones
With leadership comes responsibility. Under his leadership, European Bioplastics has not always played very fair. Francois was unable to keep the flock on the side of righteousness.
Michael Stephen, Symphony Environmental
Michael is one of the most knowledgable person in the bioplastics industry and one of the most vocal defender of plastics in general. While many executives were afraid to defend plastic in public during the plastic crisis, Michael was the first to stand up to defend the industry and influenced others to do the same. This is leadership.
There’s been a cabal and collusion against OXO biodegradable plastics and this has taken a lot of energy and time from Michael. Michael doesn’t have an easy job (The Anti Oxo History)
David Newman, BBIA
David is also one of the most knowledgable person and most efficient advocate in the compostable plastic segment. David is very influential and extremely well connected.
There’s a dark side to David and he’s not really a people person. People who don’t love themselves can usually not love other people. I see him a bit as the Darth Vader of the industry.
Lars Boerger, Neste
Lars seems to be one of the smartest person in the bioplastics industry. Lars knows how to build bridges and can put his ego aside when needed. He has one of the best if not the best mix in terms of technical skill, marketing / communications and vision. He singlehandedly put Neste on the Bioplastics Map. Definitely a serious contender to replace Francois de Bie at the head of European Bioplastics. And I think Lars could be the leader to clean up the “ethical” mess at European Bioplastics.
I’m still looking for a negative point. The only point I could come up with was maybe the way Lars dresses in his free time.
Andy Sweetman, Futamura
Andy is probably the best salesperson in the bioplastics industry. He’s the top sales guy and nobody comes even close to him.
Andy is not onboard when it comes to modern day digital communication. The old rusty marketing book from the 1980s is probably still on his desk.
Niall Dunne, Polymateria
Niall is the marketing superstar of bioplastics. Niall plays in the champions league while most Bioplastics marketing directors play in the second, third and fourth divisions.
Niall’s weakest point are his lack of chemical/ technical skills.
Daphna Nissenbaum, Tipa
Daphna is the most influential woman when it comes to bioplastics. She’s the only one to make it in the top ten list. She’s a successful leader and business woman. Tipa became the most successful bioplastic start up under her leadership.
Tipa has grown into a bit of a tribal company and their communication strategy is not transparent and not fully credible in my eyes. Tipa’s press releases are close to a catastrophe.
Tom van Aken
Tom has a very high mix in terms of vision, technical skills and getting things done. He built Avantium from scratch. Nobody in the industry has this kind of achievement.
Tom is Avantium and Avantium is Tom. He wants to control a bit too much I think. This is not a good leadership trait in the sense that he became too indispensable for Avantium. Avantium cannot survive without him.
Markus was one of my favourite communicator before he became CEO of Covestro. He was one of the top drivers.
Markus took too many responsibilities on his plate. He became Covestro CEO and President of Plastics Europe too soon and he disappeared from the public scene.
These ten people have been the drivers of bioplastics in 2021 and have done a remarkable job.
I could have sticked to the positive points, but then again I believe we need to take the good and bad points into consideration to get a better picture.
However, we miss a good shepherd that will guide European Bioplastics on the side of righteousness
A leader is someone who can adapt him-/ herself to his/her audience, who can build bridges with stakeholders, who can put his ego aside when needed and who knows how to keep the flock on the side of righteousness.
If I had to select five leaders to work for, in the sense that I believe they’re good “bosses” and “people managers”, I would go for:
- Francois de Bie
- Michael Stephen
- Lars Boerger
- Niall Dunne
- Markus Steilemann