Lehigh appoints ex-Yokohama, Goodyear executives to Board

Sustainable materials company Lehigh Technologies has announced that former executive vice president and chief operating officer at Yokohama North America, Jim MacMaster has joined the company’s Board of Directors, while Adel Halasa, PhD, a polymer scientist formerly with Goodyear, has joined its Advisory Board. Lehigh says the appointments coincide with an important stage in its growth; the company is now expanding its presence in Asia and Europe and taking steps to drive forward the adoption of its micronized rubber powder (MRP) material in high-value applications.

”We are very fortunate to have an executive with Jim’s level of experience in one of our key market segments join the Board,” said Alan Barton, CEO of Lehigh. “His knowledge of the markets and his relationships across the global tyre industry will help deliver the compelling value proposition of MRP to this industry.”

MacMaster began his career with Yokohama in 1981 in sales and rose through multiple commercial roles to become vice president of the company’s North American Commercial Tire Division. In 2001, he was named executive vice president and helped lead an extensive repositioning of Yokohama in North America improve growth and profitability.

“I am very excited to be able to work together with the Lehigh management team and Board as they embark on the next phase of their growth plan,” said MacMaster. “The increasing importance of raw materials that can improve the sustainability profile of the tyre industry and that can help reduce and stabilize costs will help Lehigh become an important strategic supplier to the industry.

As a new Advisory Board member, Halasa will provide guidance to Lehigh’s technical team. Halasa was a Research and Development fellow at Goodyear from 1983 to 2009, and he has since served as an adjunct professor at the University of Akron. Over his long and successful technical career, he has been listed on more than 300 patents and was recognized in 1997 with the Charles Goodyear Medal for his work developing anionic solution polymerization of styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR).

“Our technology roadmap for the tyre industry is based upon driving higher loading levels of MRP, as well as developing MRPs that have chemical reactivity,” said Tom Rosenmayer, PhD, vice president of technology at Lehigh Technologies. “Dr. Halasa’s depth of experience and his knowledge of polymers and their structure-property relationships will help us develop new products faster, which is a key part of our company’s growth strategy.”

Lehigh Technologies’ MRPs are already being used as a raw material in a wide range of rubber compounds across the tyre industry. To date, Lehigh says more than 200 million tyres have been manufactured using its MRPs.

“Lehigh’s technical team has made great progress in helping tyre customers make MRP a standard raw material in their formulations,” said Halasa. “I am looking forward to working with them on developing MRP-based products that can deliver even higher loading potential in high-performance rubber compounds. Lehigh is the only company focusing on the fundamental science of the system; in my view, this is an essential requirement for any successful new product.”

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