Today, anyone unfamiliar with the printing ink business would have a hard time envisioning Sun Chemical Corporation as anything but the leader of the industry. After all, the company projects its 2000 sales at well over $4 billion, primarily in inks and pigments.
Combined with its parent corporation, Dainippon Ink & Chemicals, Inc. (DIC), which bought Sun Chemical in 1987, the company controls $4 billion of the approximately $12 billion worldwide ink market.
However, the story was quite different in the early 1960s. At that point, the largest printing ink manufacturer was Inmont, and Sun Chemical’s new leadership took aim at the top spot. Considering Sun Chemical’s ink and pigment sales were approximately $25 million then, and Inmont was a $500 million company, there was a lot of ground to make up.
However, Sun Chemical’s leaders came up with a plan of action to make their dreams a reality.
Forty years later, Inmont is but a memory, and Sun Chemical has far surpassed Inmont’s once lofty status. However, amid all of the company’s successes, the question remains: How does Sun Chemical avoid the fate of Inmont and so many other once-formidable industry leaders that have gone the way of the dinosaur?
That is a question that Sun Chemical’s leaders say they grapple with even today.
The Early Days of Sun Chemical
First, to understand Sun Chemical’s thoughts on the future, it helps to know how the company was built.
Sun Chemical is a direct descendent of the General Printing Ink Company (GPI). GPI involved the melding together of five ink companies in 1929: George J. Morrill Company, Sigmund Uhllman Company, Fuchs & Lang, Eagle Printing Company and American Printing Ink Company.
The key company of the five was the George J. Morrill Company. Founded in 1840, the company traced its beginnings to Samuel Morrill, a newspaper printer who began manufacturing printing ink in his Andover, MA kitchen in 1830.
By 1840, he had formed the George Morrill Company, which would have a worldwide reputation by the 1880s. By 1945, GPI had changed its name to Sun Chemical Corporation.
By the 1940s, Sun Chemical was one of the 10 major U.S. printing ink manufacturers. The leading ink manufacturer was the International Printing Ink Co., later known as Inmont.
By the early 1960s, Sun Chemical had grown a little, but its ink and pigment businesses still remained fairly small.
“When I joined Sun in 1960, ink sales were probably in the low $20 million,” said Massie Odiotti, Sun Chemical’s executive vice president. “We were number four in market share, if that.”
In 1957, Sun Chemical Corporation made a major acquisition, and with it, the company began to take shape. The company purchased Ansbacher-Siegle Company, a pigment company that focused on inks. With Ansbacher-Siegle came its owner, Norman Alexander, who became the new leader of Sun Chemical.
“In 1957, Norman Alexander sold Ansbacher Siegle to Sun Chemical, and became CEO,” said Edward E. Barr, chairman of Sun Chemical. “He started Sun on the road to modern management in terms of marketing and investing, and he made a number of terrific moves.”
“Norman Alexander is a tremendous motivator and extremely brilliant,” Mr. Odiotti said. “He’d let operations run their own way as long as we were on budget. At 86, he still runs Sequa, a $2 billion company, extremely well. He is a wonderful person.”
Mr. Barr said that the first key moves Mr. Alexander made were to bring in a nucleus of future leaders. These people came from a variety of different backgrounds, either promotions from within Sun Chemical, from competitors or from completely outside the industry.
“First, he recruited Dan Carlick into Sun Chemical, who convinced everyone to be more involved in the Carlstadt technical center,” said Mr. Barr. “Second, in 1963, he reached into our organization and elevated Gordon MacQuaker to control our ink operations. He also convinced me to become director of planning for Sun Chemical, instead of becoming director of planning for NBC.”
In order to improve the company’s products and strengthen research and development, Mr. Alexander convinced Mr. Carlick to leave Interchemical to join Sun Chemical.
“Dan and I worked together for 35 years,” said Robert Bassemir, chief scientist emeritus for Sun Chemical. “He came over from Interchemical in 1961, and we hit it off. He was my boss and mentor. He was a very bright guy, full of ideas, energy and optimism, and very innovative. He was a natural leader.”
By 1963, Mr. Carlick had become technical director of Sun Chemical’s North American Ink Division. By the time Mr. Carlick retired in 1996, he held 46 patents under his name alone, and had contributed landmark research on UV inks and polyamide resins. He also played a huge role in setting technical facilities in Europe. Today, the Carlstadt technical center he practically built bears his name.
“Aside from being a first-rate scientist, Dan Carlick understood the practical needs of the printing industry,” Mr. Barr said.
“Dan Carlick was a good ink man, and he was probably an even better resin man,” Mr. Odiotti said. “The difference in inks comes down to who has the better resin system.”
The elevation of Mr. MacQuaker, or Mac as he is known in the industry, to lead GPI was another major step. Mr. MacQuaker, who would ultimately become executive vice president of Sun Chemical, began his career with GPI in 1941 as a laboratory technician, and led Sun Chemical during much of its growth. He remained active until 1998, when he retired as a consultant.
His colleagues describe Mr. MacQuaker as a man who could work with anyone.
“I learned the business from Mac, and he was very supportive during the early years,” said Henri Dyner, Sun Chemical’s president and CEO, who joined the company in 1974 as general manager of its fledgling European division. “He was my mentor.”
“Mac was my boss when I was controller, and he was both an ink and people person,” said Mr. Odiotti. “ He could talk with pressmen as well as the president of R.R. Donnelley & Sons.”
The addition of Mr. Barr would turn out to be the key to the transformation of the company. Mr. Barr is considered a tremendous leader by his colleagues, and is credited with forming the plan that led Sun to the pinnacle of the industry.
“Ed Barr is probably one of the most brilliant managers I’ve ever known,” said Mr. Bassemir. “He is a very inspiring leader. He could talk with you on any level.”
“Ed Barr’s strong suit is business, but he’s good at everything he does,” said Paul Klein, executive vice president of Sun Chemical Corporation’s Colors Group. “He leads by example, and those of us who have worked with him and for him appreciate all he does for us. A lot of things that were done were because Ed got the loyalty of those who understood the business.”
However, Sun Chemical officials past and present stress that it would be a mistake to limit the accolades to just a few people.
“There are so many, many people who have contributed to the growth of Sun Chemical Corp,” Mr. MacQuaker said. “One whose untiring devotion to our international operations has made us a winner is Henri Dyner. Another is Massie Odiotti, our former controller and now executive vice president. A technical genius, Dan Carlick, and his assistant Bob Bassemir, who was well known in the industry, can be credited with a good portion of new sales through technology. Steve Kovalsky, our manufacturing manager, was the innovator of new manufacturing techniques that resulted in our leadership in web offset and publication gravure inks.”
“Our talent pool of people is sine qua non – energized people drive any business,” Mr. Barr added. “I would say that we are blessed, but it is also self-selecting.”
“There are too many to mention, and it would be unfair,” said Mr. Dyner, Sun Chemical’s president and CEO. “We have been very fortunate that we have had a lot of good people who were very dedicated. If I named 10, I would be leaving out 15.”
Having said that, both Mr. Dyner and Mr. Odiotti spoke of the teamwork between Mr. Barr and Mr. MacQuaker. “From my own point of view, Gordon MacQuaker and Ed Barr were both very supportive of me,” Mr. Dyner said. “Ed set the tone for business discipline, and lent a structured approach to the business. Mac had a flair with people, and Ed had the financial discipline. They were quite a combination.”
“Ed was the leader and knew where he wanted to take the company,” Mr. Odiotti said. “Mac and Ed were two of the best bosses I ever had.”
“I think Sun’s top echelon has been excellent,” Mr. Bassemir said. “They were the people who made Sun Chemical what it is today.”
Instilling an Attitude
Once the people were in place, the next goal was to build an attitude of success in the face of the intense competition from Inmont, Sinclair & Valentine, and other industry leaders.
“In 1963, Sun had $60 million in sales, $25 million in inks and pigments,” Mr. Barr said. “Norman was trying to modernize the company, and we laid out our plan.
“My epiphany came when I did my homework and said we should concentrate on the ink and pigment business,” Mr. Barr said. “Our goal was not only to pass Sinclair & Valentine, but to overtake Inmont. It became almost a crusade. Our slogan was ‘The Guy from GPI – On the Run for Number One.’”
“We concluded that we should concentrate on businesses where we were number one or could focus on number one,” Mr. Barr said. “The decision was made to dispose of the other businesses, and I spent the next couple of years selling them off.”
“To overtake the industry’s leaders required a dedicated plan of action involving people with a positive attitude for winning,” Mr. MacQuaker said. “This attitude for winning was further enhanced when DIC purchased Sun Chemical, and Edward Barr returned as president. Ed is credited with inspiring the employees through seeking out their input for company growth and working side by side with them to realize results.”
Research and Development
With Mr. Carlick in charge of research, the company quickly began to emphasize R&D, putting more of its resources into R&D than its competitors. Sun was also fortunate to have a number of top research people on its pigment side, including Fran Gleason, head of Federal Color’s pigments lab. Like Mr. Carlick, he too was instrumental in creating new products that would revolutionize the industry.
“Dan could identify a research objective and provide leadership,” Mr. Barr said. “In colors, we were fortunate to have Fran Gleason, who was the driver in the early days of the Cincinnati lab. He created our high quality flush colors. He not only could create new pigments, but he could also develop processes.
“The foundation that he and Dan Carlick created provided the next generation with the opportunity to make their mark,” Mr. Barr said. “They would both be pleased by the level of research being done by our present technical leaders, Dr. John Rooney and Russell Schwartz.
“Dan Carlick was instrumental in developing the Carlstadt technical center and building it into a major force in shaping the future of the company,” added Dr. Rooney, vice president of R&D. “Through him, technology became an integral part of Sun Chemical’s corporate strategy.”
All of this work could not have been done without the support from top levels of the company, and R&D had that from Sun Chemical’s leadership.
“Ed Barr is a real believer in R&D, and Mac funded many, many things, which took courage,” Mr. Bassemir said. “Mac was a chemist by training, and he deserves a lot of credit for funding these projects. UV is a good example; he put money up for research at a time when the process was nowhere near as viable as it is today.”
“There were a whole series of products that were key,” Mr. Barr said. “Without our technical center or our commitment, it would have been impossible to create UV. It’s a mindset that says to explore. It cost us a lot of money, but there was support at the top. There was a certain fervency. Dan himself was the creator of a family of polyamide resins that helped create the flexo business. Carlstadt existed at the beginning of web heatset, and was in the forefront in developing high-speed heatset. Soy news inks, energy-cured inks and high-quality water-based inks all came from Carlstadt. The intersection of economics and environmental concerns afforded opportunities for high-quality water-based flexo.”
“We put a lot of effort into developing products that the industry needed,” Mr. Odiotti said. “It took a while to develop the market for UV.”
Through its concentration on its inks and pigments, Sun Chemical had grown to be the largest U.S. ink manufacturer. The next step was to become the largest ink manufacturer in the world, which required Sun Chemical’s serious entry into Europe.
“By 1972, Sun was the largest printing ink company in the U.S., but Inmont had acquired businesses in Europe,” Mr. Barr said. “We had accomplished our first objective, and began exploring the European market. We needed a joint venture, and by 1973, a series of investments in Italy, France, Belgium and the U.K. put us in Europe in a significant way.”
However, Inmont had not selected local people to run these European operations, which caused problems.
“Inmont tried to run its European businesses with Americans, which was a fatal mistake,” Mr. Barr said. “We knew we needed leadership that understood cultural differences, and we selected Henri Dyner in 1974.”
Mr. Dyner was an ideal selection for the person who would be responsible for growing a European business. He joined Sun Chemical from Torin, S.A. of Belgium, where he was general manager. He is fluent in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish and has an excellent command of both German and Dutch.
“When I started with Sun, I was brought in as general manager of Europe, and moved to the U.K., where we had a small staff of five people. I was put in charge of whatever Europe was, a year after we acquired equity in three companies: Baglini in Italy, France Couleurs in France, and Encres Dresse in Belgium,” Mr. Dyner said. “We had 30 percent of Ault & Wyborg. Our total business was $30 million. The first objective was to get our European sales to $100 million.”
To avoid the mistakes that Inmont made, Sun Chemical immediately sought out people who came from the countries they represented.
“It was our policy to manage local companies with local people,” Mr. Dyner said. “The best guy to run a business is the guy who comes from the area. Cultures and behaviors are different, and a person who comes from that company will be most comfortable with that. Americans run pure American companies better, Belgians run pure Belgian companies better, Japanese run pure Japanese companies better. We don’t have expatriates running businesses.”
“‘Think globally, but act locally’ – we’ve always been very well served by that philosophy,” Mr. Dyner said.
DIC Buys Sun
The purchase of the ink and pigment portions of Sun Chemical by Tokyo, Japan-based Dainippon Ink & Chemicals, Inc. (DIC) in 1987 was the next critical step.
The acquisition of Sun Chemical by DIC followed Sun Chemical’s 1986 merger with Chromalloy, a gas turbine manufacturer. Mr. Alexander then divested Sun Chemical’s ink and pigments operations to DIC for $525 million.
The acquisition by DIC provided a good portion of what Sun Chemical is today. For one, it marked the return of Mr. Barr to the company. Mr. Barr had left in 1983, due to what he felt was the company’s drift into assorted products that did not match its core businesses
“A defining moment was when I felt our thrust was being diluted,” Mr. Barr said.
The DIC purchase gave the U.S. and European operations a strong boost. In 1976, DIC had purchased Kohl & Madden, a specialist in sheetfed inks with roots dating back to 1906. Kohl & Madden became an important division under Sun Chemical.
With DIC, Sun Chemical began adding key components that supplemented its organic growth. In 1991, Sun Chemical acquired BASF’s packaging and commercial ink business. In 1993, the U.S. operations added US Ink Corporation, a news ink manufacturer. In 1996, Sun acquired Zeneca Specialty Inks, and in 1998, Gibbon Group plc. and Heritage Inks International were purchased by Sun Chemical.
In Europe, DIC had just purchased the Germany-based Hartman prior to its acquisition of Sun. Hartman provided Sun Chemical with a much-needed presence in Germany.
“You have to have a presence in countries,” Mr. Dyner said. “If I want to sell sheetfed four-color, up to a certain point I can export it to Germany. With packaging, it is impossible because of service.”
With Hartman in place, Sun Chemical Europe’s sales expanded. Adding the U.K.-based Gibbons Group plc., a sheetfed specialist, and Coates, a $900 million French ink manufacturer, has given Sun Chemical the top position in the European market with an estimated $1.5 billion in printing ink sales annually. Coates allows Sun Chemical to also expand its already growing Latin American operations.
DIC’s capabilities aren’t just limited to sales: the company also has a strong commitment to R&D, environmental issues and the ink industry. The two companies work together to create new products and provide services.
Mistakes to Avoid
What does the future hold for Sun Chemical? It is said that those who do not learn from history are often condemned to repeat it. Sun Chemical’s leaders say they know where Inmont and others went wrong, and have put measures into place to avoid a similar fate. One such problem was not having local leaders in place who understand their country’s culture.
“I know a lot about the ink business, but if I went down to Mexico, I’d be a failure,” Mr. Odiotti said. “You need a local person to run the business in a foreign country.”
Another major error for Inmont was not replacing key people, which was compounded by not focusing on their core business.
“Inmont had so many management changes – first a paint guy, then the Germans came in,” Mr. Odiotti said. “If you want to write a textbook on how to screw up a company, they would be it. They tried to get into all different businesses.”
“One thing that Sun’s done really well is pass the baton on to the next generation,” Mr. Barr said. “Gordon MacQuaker was followed by Massie Odiotti and Henri Dyner; I followed Norman Alexander. We’re constantly reviewing our organization. There’s a whole cadre of new managers coming along; the future generation is moving into place. I’m very pleased with what I see.”
“Any downfall of our competition revolved around not replacing respected leaders, reducing research expenditures and not seeking engineering methods to reduce expense in favor of reducing prices,” Mr. MacQuaker added.
“The baton has been passed to our new president, Mr. Henri Dyner, who has been a vital part of our past growth and understands and accepts the philosophy of Australia and its coat of arms,” Mr. MacQuaker said. “The emu and the kangaroo were chosen because of one common characteristic – neither can move backward; if they did, they would fall over. They, and we, will only move forward.”
Mr. Dyner said he believes that Sun should constantly strive to better prepare its future leaders. “I think we are conscious of having new people ready, but you can never do enough,” Mr. Dyner said.
Future of Sun Chemical
Knowing where others before them failed, Sun Chemical’s leaders say they know what pitfalls lie before them. Mr. Dyner believes that one major concern is becoming complacent.
“I think that the biggest nemesis to any industry leader is complacency, or if you wish, you can call it arrogance,” Mr. Dyner said. “You rest on your laurels, and lose focus on the market. When you’re number one, everyone watches you. You become a very easy company for your competitors to copy. In football, if the opposition sees the same pattern, the other coach changes strategies, and you lose.
“Andy Grove, Intel’s former chairman, said he was always paranoid of his competitors,” Mr. Dyner continued. “A good CEO should always be alert to changes in the marketplace and environment, and keep the organization energized and alert. When I am asked who is Sun’s biggest competitor, it’s ourselves last year. Unless you can do better, you can be beaten.”
Mr. Dyner said that one way to keep focused is by offering challenges to the company. “You have to challenge your people with new ideas and new approaches,” Mr. Dyner said. “How do I improve on our investment? How do I add value without dropping price? We need to lead on that.”
“You can’t become complacent,” Mr. Odiotti agreed.
“The businesses we’re in are hard and demanding, and the differences between excellence and mediocrity are finely balanced,” Mr. Barr said. “You have to recognize that you can’t be all things to all people.”
Looking back over the past 40 years, Sun’s people say they are somewhat surprised to be where they are today.
“I won’t say I envisioned our $25 million company becoming a $4 billion business, but I never doubted there were opportunities,” Mr. Barr said. “I see this business becoming significantly bigger and more dynamic. Globalization and consolidation are inexorable.”
“I think when you look back at it, yes, but it did happen over time,” Mr. Dyner said. “The first time we had a European managers’ meeting, in the early ’80s, it was in a conference room with 12 people. Today, we had 150 people at a four-day conference. These people have grown up with me, or I’ve recruited them. It’s nice.”
What led, then, to the growth of Sun Chemical? “It was a combination of certain things,” Mr. Odiotti said. “There was the good leadership of Mac and Ed Barr, there was a focus on driving sales, there were new and better products, and we all worked as a team.”
In the end, the tradition they have formed gives them a sense of pride as they do head into the future.
“We are all proud to have been part of Sun Chemical Corp.,” Mr. MacQuaker concluded.
Colors Group has colorful past, bright future
When Edward E. Barr made the decision to concentrate on the ink and pigments business, he gave Sun Chemical the direction the company would ultimately follow. However, the growth of Sun Chemical’s Pigments Division (later the Colors Group) was ensured by the work of some key people.
“In pigments, Hal Whittemore laid out a program to claw our way up the ladder against the more formidable competition, including DuPont, American Cyanamid and Hercules,” said Mr. Barr, Sun Chemical’s chairman. “We also made a decision to create a free-standing pigment business, rather than a captive producer. The wisdom was shown when Inmont’s pigment business became trivialized. The idea was to expand the pigment business. We acquired the Sherwin-Williams pigment business in 1972, which brought us technology and sales relationships, and did the same with American Cyanamid in 1980. Before that, we acquired Federal Color in 1968.” Federal Color, located in Cincinnati, OH, was owned by Norman Alexander, and was folded into the Sun Chemical operations.
“One of the real proponents of keeping our pigment operations in the merchant business rather than captive was Mr. Barr,” said Paul Klein, executive vice president and general manager of Sun Chemical’s Colors Group. “He saw that it made sense to have a strong pigment operation along with a strong ink operation.”
The two key components of Sun Chemical’s future Colors Group were Ansbacher-Siegle and Federal Color. Ansbacher-Siegle traces its U.S. operations to 1907, when the G. Siegle Company opened up in Staten Island, NY. It merged with A.B. Ansbacher Company in 1929, and was sold to Sun by Mr. Alexander in the mid-1950s.
Federal Color traces its beginning to the Heekin Can Company, which made the red pigment for the Prince Albert Tobacco cans. Soon after, Heekin began manufacturing pigments for U.S. postage stamps. Heekin spun off its pigment operations into Federal Color, and was noted for creating the different color smoke screens used by the military during World War II.
Mr. Klein joined the company in 1968 with previous pigment experience at Thomasset Colors, a division of Hilton Davis. He joined Sun as a plant manager in Newark and moved through the ranks to become general manager for the Colors Group in 1983, and corporate vice president in 1984. During the past 32 years, he has had the opportunity to watch the leadership of the company work to ensure its overall growth and success.
“Federal Color was almost exclusively pigments and dispersions for inks,” Mr. Klein said. “Ansbacher-Siegle made some pigments for inks, but was much broader-based, manufacturing products for plastics, rubber and cosmetics from its Staten Island, NY location.”
By the 1970s, the combined sales were $18 million in pigments; today, Sun Chemical has the largest tonnage of organic pigments and pigment dispersions in the world.
“As I look at the growth of our business over the years, there were a few people who were either technical geniuses or visionaries,” Mr. Klein said. “Hal Whittemore was a visionary, and the credit he has received is well deserved.
“He is mostly responsible for us having a global outlook,” Mr. Klein said. “The big producers were either German, such as Hoechst and BASF, or Swiss, with Sandoz and Ciba, and he asked why we shouldn’t have a global outlook.”
Mr. Whittemore had served as general manager of Sun Chemical’s Warwick Chemical operations when he was named vice president of the Chemical Products Division. He quickly moved to consolidate the operations into one cohesive organization in 1970, under the heading of Sun Chemical Corporation Pigments Division. By 1980, the pigment and dispersion divisions were combined into the Colors Group.
Mr. Klein spoke of Mr. Whittemore’s ability to work with people. “He was a terrific people person, a relatively easy guy to work for, but a taskmaster,” Mr. Klein said. “The Ansbacher-Siegle division had Michael Pisetzner, who was the general manager for Hal Whittemore. Fran Gleason, the technical genius at Federal Color, was working for Ed Sheridan. Mr. Whittemore decided to put the operations together into the pigments division, and took the title of general manager himself.”
Research and Development
Whereas Mr. Whittemore was the visionary, Sun Chemical’s Colors Group had leaders in the technical field who helped to make the company what it is today. In particular, Mr. Gleason was quite legendary: he began with Federal Color in 1924 as a chemical engineering student at the University of Cincinnati, and stayed on until 1971, when he retired as general manager of the Cincinnati operation. Mr. Gleason became a consultant, staying with Sun Chemical for the next 12 years. In 1937, his landmark work on flushed colors propelled the company to leadership in the field.
“Mr. Pisetzner and Mr. Gleason were the key operating people,” Mr. Klein said. “Mr. Gleason was a very quiet man, a very hard worker and unselfish with his time. He’d come in at 5 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m. He enjoyed the technical end. He’s considered one of the fathers of flushed colors.”
Mr. Pisetzner began at Ansbacher-Siegle in 1935, and developed his expertise in running operations. “Mike was one of the finest operations people I ever met,” Mr. Klein said. “He was the operational troubleshooter for Norman Alexander.”
The emphasis on research and development continues today. Mr. Gleason was followed closely by Dr. Hugh Smith and Leonard Shapiro, both of whom began in Staten Island. Dr. Smith joined Sun in 1967, and eventually was moved to Cincinnati, where he worked with Mr. Gleason. Russell Schwartz, now the head of R&D, came to pigments from the Carlstadt labs.
Sun Chemical continues to emphasize its R&D and QC efforts in order to stay ahead of the requirements of the marketplace. “The single biggest use for organic pigments is the printing ink industry, and you have to ask about the impact of e-books and new communication techniques,” Mr. Klein said. “We are doing research in new technologies such as toners for digital printing. We’re staying in tune with the changing technology. In the paint industry, there is a lot of work being done with powder coatings and water-based coatings, where you can’t use exactly the same pigments.
“We have to continue to work on our approach to making pigments that offer our customers solutions to problems they encounter when using organic pigments. We also plan to increase our market share of the higher performance pigments for the coatings and plastic industries, including offering value-added products,” said Peter Ludwig, senior vice president and COO of the Colors Group.
“Quality is very important,” Mr. Klein added. “We have an initiative called Presidential Quality, and it’s a cornerstone for us. All of our operations are ISO registered. DIC Kashima was one of the first chemical plants in Japan to be certified ISO 14000. There is an emphasis on quality throughout our whole organization, both in pigments and in inks.”
Today, the Colors Group has technical centers in Cincinnati and Koge, Denmark, the home of KVK, which Sun acquired in 1992. The European growth is a tribute to the global vision of Mr. Whittemore and also Mr. Ludwig.
“Our European business to a large degree is Peter Ludwig’s work along with Hal,” Mr. Klein said. “Peter was the group’s controller then, and he was involved in a lot of our overseas business from the states before he moved over there in the 1980s. Peter was instrumental in the acquisition of KVK, which gave us a European base to manufacture pigments.”
“In the 1970s, Mr. Whittemore had the vision of expanding the business internationally,” said Mr. Ludwig. “We went to Europe, and after analyzing the market, we entered it. We found that people wanted to see a new company on the block. It was Mr. Whittemore that acknowledged the need to strengthen our R & D efforts in order for Sun Chemical to become a recognized supplier throughout the EU countries. As a result of this insight, the late 1970s and earlier 1980s were periods of well-planned expansion throughout Sun, a time that heralded the birth of the Colors Group, incorporating both Pigments and Dispersion Divisions and saw Sun looking for expansion of its manufacturing facilities into Europe in expanding overseas. The acquisition of KVK, Koge, Denmark, was a significant event in our expansion plans. “For the past 25 years, we’ve been successful,” added Mr. Ludwig, who celebrated 36 years with Sun in November 2000, and who pioneered Sun’s entry into Europe from 1985 to 1997. “We were equally fortunate to grow along with Sun Chemical’s ink division in Europe, and have now begun the final phase to ensure a global presence by expansion into Latin America and Asia.”
As is the case with the ink operations, the people have made the difference for the Colors Group.
“One thing I can say about our pigment people – they think about pigments all the time,” Mr. Barr said. “Our best and brightest people are in inks and pigments. We’re not in other things. This gives us confidence that Sun’s future will continue to be very focused and enormously positive.”