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Our leadership team


Phil McDivitt

Phil McDivitt

President and Chief Executive Officer

Phil McDivitt brings more than 30 years' industry experience to Ascend Performance Materials. He serves on the boards of directors of Ascend, the American Chemistry Council and DePelchin Children's Center; and the advisory council for the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University. At the American Chemistry Council, McDivitt serves on both the Sustainability and Rail, Transportation and Infrastructure committees. He joined Ascend in 2015.



Riz Amanullah

Riz Amanullah

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Riz Amanullah brings a global and diverse skillset with experience across different industries. Prior to joining Ascend, he worked in various capacities including M&A, FP&A, treasury, sales and product development at the Eaton Corporation, Cooper Industries and Verizon Wireless. Amanullah currently leads Ascend's finance and IT organizations.



Vikram Gopal

Vikram Gopal

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Vikram Gopal has broad experience in the advanced materials industry with expertise in research and development, product development, process engineering and applications development. Before joining Ascend in 2015, he was vice president of technology at Invista Engineering Polymer Solutions. He is credentialed as a Six Sigma black belt.



Debbie Keehn

Debbie Keehn

Senior Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer

Debbie Keehn brings over 30 years of experience across leadership roles in the oil, gas and chemical industries. She has accelerated strategic change initiatives in financial shared services, procurement, IT, human resources and supply chain. As chief transformation officer, Keehn oversees our transformational projects and our long-range plan. Previously, she served as our chief supply chain officer, where she helped deliver global agility as we grew.



Isaac Khalil

Isaac Khalil

Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer

Isaac Khalil has more than 30 years of specialty materials industry experience. He joined Ascend in 2020 as senior vice president of polyamides and today oversees all commercial activity at the company. His prior roles include global vice president at Celanese, general manager of Latin America at Honeywell and vice president and managing director of Europe at Minerals Technologies. 



Gustavo Nechar

Gustavo Nechar

Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Gustavo Nechar brings decades of HR experience to Ascend. Before joining the company in 2017, he held leadership roles with Dresser-Rand, WABCO Vehicle Control Systems, Valeo and Citrosuco, a Brazilian food and beverage company.



Andrew Ralston

Andrew Ralston

Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Andrew Ralston has more than 30 years of experience practicing law in the energy and chemicals industries. He came to Ascend in 2009, following tenures as counsel for international law firms McDermott Will & Emery and Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP and senior counsel for Westlake Chemical Corp. and Valero Energy Corp.



Kevin Wu

Kevin Wu

Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific

Dr. Kevin Wu has more than 30 years of chemical industry experience, including various regional and global leadership roles at Rohm and Haas, Shanghai Chemspec Corporation and Celanese. He also served as an advisory member of the Committee of Multinationals within the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation as well as an advisory board member of the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers.



Paul Cartlidge

Paul Cartlidge

Vice President, Environment, Security, Safety and Health

Paul Cartlidge has been with the organization for more than 25 years and served as the Chocolate Bayou site director for 12 years before assuming his role as the vice president of ESSH.



Amanda Castro

Amanda Castro

Vice President, Capital Projects and Engineering

Amanda Castro has over 35 years of experience in global production and project execution. Before joining Ascend in 2021, Amanda served as project director over a multi-billion-dollar joint venture for Dow Chemical. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidade Federal da Bahia and an MBA from the University of Michigan.



Jonathan Craig

Jonathan Craig

Vice President, Polymers and Fibers

Jonathan Craig joined Ascend in 2010 and was named VP of specialty chemicals in 2018. Previous roles at Ascend include senior director of supply chain and director of business planning and analysis. He also has held senior roles with Bigler LP and Biogen Idec.



John Ferguson

John Ferguson

Vice President, Procurement

John Ferguson has gained more than 20 years' experience and institutional knowledge from his wide range of roles at the company. He joined in 1996 as an engineer and led our intermediate chemicals business from 2008 to 2022, before joining our procurement organization. 



John Saunders

John Saunders

Vice President, Europe

John Saunders brings decades of international leadership and business development experience to his role as head of Ascend's Europe team. Before joining Ascend in 2013, he was head of sales within BASF's engineering plastics unit, led commercial efforts for Allied Signal's nylon business and worked with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.



Rachell Gold

Rachell Gold

Senior Director, Global Culture, Diversity and Inclusion

Rachell Gold has extensive experience in human resources leadership from a variety of roles at Ascend. In addition to leading culture, diversity and inclusion, she is also the executive director of the Ascend Cares Foundation.



Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Senior Director, Sustainability

Chris Johnson has over 25 years of experience with Ascend Performance Materials and its predecessors. He has held a number of roles in operations, maintenance and reliability, and large project execution.



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