Supply Chain Matters has on several occasions praised Andrew Liveris, Chairmen and CEO of Dow Chemical Company for his understanding and appreciation for the value and contribution of manufacturing and supply chain capability to business outcomes.  His pearls of wisdom shared with other CEO’s of manufacturing companies note that in manufacturing, you have to constantly innovate faster than being commoditized, and that the biggest manufacturing and supply chain challenge stems from the ability to train a new skilled workforce.

We were therefore rather disappointed to read recent news that Liveris has indicated that he will leave Dow Chemical by mid-2017 as a result of the announced $120 billion merger with DuPont brought about from the influence of activist investors. The merged companies, if approved, expect to split into three separate specialty chemical businesses.  But before that occurs, there is an anticipated $3 billion in cost cuts.

Earlier this month. Dow indicated that Vice-Chairman and COO James Fitterling will oversee the merger with DuPont which was reported by business media as an indication that that a certain activist investor did not favor Mr. Liveris in a senior leadership role in the new to be companies.

Besides his nearly ten year leadership of Dow, Mr. Liveris has been an author and U.S. presidential advisor on manufacturing competitiveness. In a September 2013 commentary, we praised his keynote delivered to the MIT Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) conference which unveiled results of MIT’s study on U.S. manufacturing competiveness. In the first quarter of 2015, in a posting appearing in the online version of Chief Executive Magazine, Mr. Liveris shared what he termed as his winning formula for manufacturing success. His prime messages was for manufacturers to rethink the role in evolving global supply chains and actively address workforce training and development needs for today and the future.

We certainly hope and trust that Mr. Liveris will consider continuing to be an educator and mentor for advocating U.S. manufacturing and supply chain competitiveness. His articulation of why manufacturing and supply chain capability matter and his leadership presence are one that needs to sustain.

Bob Ferrari