Ashland Chairman and Chief Executive Jim O'Brien to retire

Board begins process to choose his successor

Ashland's Chairman James O'Brien is to retire on 31 December.

The US specialist chemical company's Board of Directors has launched a formal search process to choose his successor. As part of the overall succession plan, it is anticipated that O'Brien will remain on the Board for a limited time once the new CEO is named to facilitate a smooth transition.

Since 2002, O'Brien has directed Ashland's transformation from a multi-industry petroleum refiner and marketer with holdings in chemicals and transportation construction into a global speciality chemicals company with 15,000 employees and nearly US$8bn in annual sales.

The Board has appointed a special committee, chaired by Barry Perry, its leading independent director, to lead the search process.

'Jim O'Brien has left an indelible mark of performance and leadership on Ashland, and we are grateful for his 38 years of service to the company,' said Perry. 'During his 12 years as CEO, Jim has guided the company through a significant transformation that has saluted Ashland's past, strengthened its present, and redefined the future for Ashland employees and shareholders.'

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