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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Mark Nikolich

Chief Executive Officer

Braskem America

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Founded: 2010

Industry: Petrochemical

Mark Nikolich is a seasoned leader in the petrochemical industry, with a career spanning over three decades. As the chief executive officer of Braskem America Inc., he has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and shaping its strategic direction.

Nikolich’s journey with Braskem began in 2010 as the vice president of the U.S. polypropylene business when the company acquired the polypropylene operations of Sunoco. In this role, he was responsible for all areas of the U.S. polypropylene business including Commercial, Manufacturing, Feedstock, and Innovation and Technology.

In 2011, after Braskem acquired Dow’s polypropylene business, Nikolich was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the newly acquired operations in Europe. Under his guidance, Braskem successfully integrated the assets and teams into its newly formed Braskem Europe GMBH business.

This involved hiring and building a new team of 75 members from 16 different countries, establishing offices in Frankfurt and Vienna, and adapting the company’s culture and values to multiple new languages.

While facing initial operational challenges, Nikolich’s efforts and strategic changes led to a remarkable turnaround. Through changes in commercial strategy, product portfolio, and local leadership, the company’s European operations became highly profitable, generating over $30 million in EBITDA within a few years. The business continued to thrive and grew to $100 million by 2020, marking a significant achievement in starting up and running an industrial business in a foreign market.

Now as the CEO of Braskem America leading operations in the U.S. and Mexico, Nikolich has a clear vision for the company’s future. Braskem is a global leader in producing chemicals and plastics that contribute to everyday life, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness while prioritizing sustainability, the company said. The company aims to foster a low-carbon circular economy by creating sustainable materials that protect the environment and improve the human condition, the company said. With operations in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and Germany, Braskem aims to drive solutions to address plastic waste and climate change.

The company is embarking on a transition from fossil-based feedstocks to bio, bio-circular, and recycled feedstocks, aiming for carbon neutrality and promoting circular materials that can be recycled and reused instead of ending up in landfills. The company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion program is recognized as a trailblazer within the chemical industry, driving increased diversity in gender, race, sexual orientation, age, and life experiences.

Nikolich has received various awards and honors, including being named a Most Admired CEO by the Philadelphia Business Journal. He serves on the board of the American Chemistry Council and chairs the Plastics Committee. Additionally, Mark is an executive committee member of the World Plastics Council and serves on the advisory board of the Knowde Digital Marketplace.

“I have led the build-out of new ventures around 3D printing, digitization of quality, and progressing the diversity, equity, and inclusion journey for Braskem and the petrochemical industry,” Nikolich said.

Presented by:

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Did you know?

I spent 9 of my first 20 years living abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, Düsseldorf, Germany, and London, England. I also played NCAA Soccer for 4 years at Gettysburg College.


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