Below is a Q&A with Chemours President & CEO Mark Vergnano, following the recent announcement of Chemours as a Fortune 500 company.
Q. What would you say are the key events or actions that led Chemours to this moment?
A. There were so many moments along the way, but I’d say the key action that led us here was our commitment to our five-point transformation plan—it was the centerpiece of many of our efforts. Throughout the execution of the plan, we were forthcoming and transparent with our employees, investors, and customers.
We had some tough milestones to meet to prove that we were, in fact, making the progress that we committed to—targets spelled out in our earnings releases. To make those targets required tough conversations and hard decisions that helped forge our path ahead.
It was invigorating to see our 7,000+ employees flawlessly executing in line with our corporate values and our promises to the outside world. That’s a big part of what brought us here today. Being included in the Fortune 500 roster is simply another opportunity to measure how far we’ve come.
Q. What does being a part of the Fortune 500 mean for your employees? What does it mean for your customers?
A. It’s a moment of great pride for everyone, especially our employees who are shaping a whole new corporate identity from the ground up. Nothing was handed to them; they had to earn every bit of the credit they now so richly deserve. The announcement is something that all our employees will take pride in.
Our customers, big and small, also partnered with us, so this is their achievement, too. If it weren’t for them, we couldn’t have made it here. This really was an inclusive effort from all sides—something we really appreciate and look forward to fostering in the months and years ahead.
Q. Being named to the Fortune 500 list means Chemours has achieved a certain scale. How do you plan to maintain the value of Refreshing Simplicity as Chemours continues to grow?
A. My CEO peers tell me that as our company continues to grow, managing complexity will become a bigger challenge. And so it falls to our leadership to ensure that one of our core values, Refreshing Simplicity, remains at the center of our focus. As we grow, we have to maintain a sense of discipline: if an action doesn’t have the customer and simplicity at its core, don’t do it. That’s how we keep this going.
Q. Now that you’re a Fortune 500 company, can you still call yourself a 200-year-old startup?
A. Absolutely! We need to maintain the startup mentality and always keep it as part of who we are. We love the mindset reflected in our Collective Entrepreneurship value that comes along with it. Employees really like it, too. The idea that this company belongs to all of us keeps everyone engaged, which is important because we have a long way to go—there’s a lot of opportunity in front of us. So Collective Entrepreneurship will continue to be a focal point.
Q. When thinking of the year ahead, what are you most excited about?
A. I’m excited about seeing growth across all our businesses as we rebuild our new product pipelines. Our products are truly adding value, and we can see that as we meet market needs through our offerings.
We still have work to do, but again, a lot more opportunity lies ahead. We can see even greater growth in our products and the value they bring to customers; the potential for growth here is greater than we imagined. And it’s absolutely what gets me charged up each day.
Chemours Breaks into the Fortune 500
In less than two years, Chemours has gone from being a spinoff with an uncertain future to becoming a successful member of the global commercial elite.
Our Corporate Vision for Innovation Ahead
Growing the company and making the Fortune 500 list are simply the beginning of our long-term growth. We continue to be focused on and committed to being a Higher Value Chemistry company that will help enhance quality of life for people everywhere.
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