Dow Corning CEO First Woman to Receive International Palladium Medal
Sunil Kumar, chair of the International Palladium Medal Award Committee of the Société de Chimie Industrielle has announced that the prestigious international award will be made to Dr. Stephanie A. Burns, chair, president, and CEO of Dow Corning, in recognition of her many distinguished contributions to the chemical industry and, thereby to the enhancement of the international aims and objectives of the Société de Chimie Industrielle. She will be the first woman to receive this honor, which not only recognizes the enormous contributions she has made to the success of her company but also her service to the chemical industry as a hardworking and innovation-minded chemist and promoter of the industry. . Burns will receive the International Palladium Medal at a dinner in her honor on May 3, in the Grand Ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
The award was established in 1958 and the first Palladium Medal was presented to Ernest-John Solvay of Belgium. Twenty-five subsequent awards have been made to American, French, British, and German recipients. The recipients were: Werner C. Brown (Hercules); Vincent A. Calarco (Crompton); Harry Corless (ICI); Earnest W. Deavenport, Jr. (Eastman Chemical Company); Jean-Rene Fourtou (Rhône-Poulenc); Thomas G. Gibian (Henkel); Thomas L. Gossage (Hercules); J. Peter Grace (W.R. Grace); Charles O. Holliday, Jr. (DuPont); Edward R. Kane (DuPont); William W. Keeler (Phillips Petroleum); Robert D. Kennedy (Union Carbide); Gerald D. Laubach (Pfizer); Jeffery M. Lipton (Nova Chemicals); Paul F. Oreffice (Dow Chemical); Frank Popoff (Dow Chemical); Monroe J. Rathbone (Standard Oil); William S. Stavropolous (Dow); Jürgen F. Strube (BASF); Charles A. Thomas (Monsanto); Paul Toinet (Bayer); Konrad M. Weis (Bayer); Henry S. Wingate (International Nickel); Karl Winnackker (Hoechst); and Edgar S. Woolard, Jr. (DuPont).
In nearly 27 years at Dow Corning,. Burns has built a reputation for excellence in silicon chemistry research, science and technology leadership, business development and corporate management at the highest level.
Under her leadership, Dow Corning has expanded to more than 7,000 its inventory of silicon-based products.
She has overseen extensive diversification of the company's reach, geographically and into new markets.
Among the most significant of these transformational shifts was her foresight to commit early on to a significant stake in renewable energy.
The company's entrepreneurial spirit under Dr. Burns' guidance is evident in its resource allocation. Dow Corning spends approximately 5% of sales revenue on research and development and has consistently introduced new and innovated products and solutions for customers, which have fueled its growth.
Her vision has translated into business success. Dow Corning's sales have grown to the 2009 level of $5.09 billion from $3.37 billion since she became CEO in 2004. Dow Corning's 2009 net income reached $579.6 million, up from $238 million during that time.
In addition, Burns has maintained an energetic schedule of appearances before government committees, visits to presidential cabinet officers and interviews with journalists to advocate for expansion and development of advanced manufacturing. Most recently, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President's Export Council. She consistently and eloquently, internally and in public, has enhanced awareness of the megatrends shaping the future of the planet, urging scientists to press for silicon-based solutions to water shortage, energy poverty, urbanization and healthcare.
Burns, a Ph.D. organic chemist from Iowa State University with a specialty in organosilicons, has adopted science education as a special personal focus, promoting teacher training, scholarships and events that bring together students and educators for hands-on chemistry activities.
Burns has been a member of Dow Corning's Board of Directors since 2001, and was elected president in 2003, chief executive officer in 2004 and chairman in 2006. She joined Dow Corning in 1983 as a researcher. In 1994, she became the company's first director of Women's Health. She relocated to Brussels in 1997, initially as director of science and technology for Europe and then as director for two of Dow Corning's industries, electronics and life sciences. In December 2000, she returned to the U.S. to become executive vice president of the company, responsible for global operations.
The Société de Chimie Industrielle was founded in 1918 as The American Section of a Paris-based international organization. Today it operates as an independent New York-based Society with a mission to work with other chemical industry organizations and promote understanding of the chemical and allied industries. Activities include a monthly CEO forum, a scholarship program, and the International Palladium Medal awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the industry.