Leadership & Corporate Governance
The Azelis leadership team oversees the company's business strategy, ensuring effective corporate governance and implementing a fresh, innovative vision of Azelis as a leading innovation service provider in the specialty chemicals and food ingredients industry.
Hans Joachim Müller joined Azelis as Chief Executive Officer in 2012. Prior to joining Azelis, Dr. Müller was a member of the Managing Board and Head of the Catalytic Technologies Global Business Unit at Clariant AG, a company specializing in catalysts and adsorbents, and chief operating officer and member of the managing board of Süd-Chemie. Dr. Müller started his career at BASF, where he became director of technology and catalysts for Asia, based in Hong Kong, and then global director of specialty chemicals.
Dr. Müller holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. He also obtained a research fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Thijs Bakker joined Azelis as Chief Financial Officer in 2016. Mr. Bakker has over 20 years' international experience in finance and the chemical industry, having worked in various finance roles in the Netherlands, the United States and across the Asia Pacific region for a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. Prior to joining Azelis, Mr. Bakker worked at Nuplex Resins, a specialty chemicals manufacturing company, and was finance director marine and protective coatings at Akzo Nobel N.V.
Mr. Bakker holds a master's degree in business administration and economics from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands as well as a Post Graduate Master of Finance and Control (RC) from the Rotterdam School of Management.
Anna Bertona joined Azelis in 2013 as Group VP Strategic Planning & Implementation and was appointed Chief Strategy & Principal Officer in 2014. In 2016 she was appointed CEO & President Azelis EMEA. Prior to joining Azelis, Ms. Bertona worked in strategy consultancy, most recently as a partner within A.T. Kearney.
Ms. Bertona holds a Master of Science in Industrial Design Engineering from the Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), as well as an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management.
Todd Cottrell is the CEO of Azelis Americas. Todd has had a three decade long career leading global chemicals and materials businesses focused on aerospace, coatings, sealants, adhesives, and composites markets. He is tasked with growing Azelis Americas across its three major markets: the U.S., Canada, and Latin and South America.
Prior to Azelis, Cottrell was the Managing Director of Americas at Hempel A/S. Before Hempel, he held leadership positions at Birla Carbon, Huntsman, Kraton Polymers and PPG. During his career he has introduced disruptive specialty chemical technology and built and sold businesses around it. Todd’s managerial experience includes multiple stints abroad.
Todd started his career in the chemicals business while still in high school working summers and as an intern at Gage Products. He has an MBA from Fuqua College of Business at Duke University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. He is an active member in multiple industry associations and a past board member of the American Coatings Association and AMPP, the Association for Materials Protection and Performance.
Sertaç Sürür joined Azelis in 2015 as Managing Director for Azelis Turkey, and in 2017 took on the additional role of Market Segment Director of Rubber & Plastic Additives.
In 2022, Mr. Sürür was appointed as CEO & President Asia Pacific.
Sertaç holds a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the National University of San Diego, California. He has a wealth of experience in the chemical industry, having worked for over 20 years in commercial roles in Turkey, the U.S., Netherlands and Switzerland at companies such as DSM, Brenntag, Ravago and Akkim.
Board of Directors
Executive Committee members Dr. Hans Joachim Müller and Thijs Bakker are also members of the Board of Directors, together with our partners from EQT; Kristiaan Nieuwenburg and Bert Janssens. Tom Hallam, Dr. Antonio Trius, Dr. Alexandra Brand and Ipek Ozsuer are Non-Executive Directors.
The Board of Directors has established two advisory committees, the Audit and Risk Committee and the Remuneration and Nomination Committee.
The Audit and Risk Committee consists of the following Directors: Tom Hallam (chair), Bert Janssens and Antonio Trius.
The Remuneration and Nomination Committee consists of Antonio Trius (chair), Alexandra Brand and Bert Janssens.
Antonio Trius is the chair of the Board of Directors, having joined as a non-executive director of Azelis in 2014, and also serves as chair of the Remuneration and Nomination Committee. Dr. Trius is currently a non-executive director of several companies, including Arxada AG in the chemical industry and Cuantum Medical & Cosmetics S.L. in a different industry. Prior to joining Azelis, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Cognis, a specialty chemicals supplier.
Dr. Trius holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and completed an executive development program (Programa de Desarrollo Directivo (PDD)) in Business Administration from IESE Business School.
KristiaanNieuwenburg joined Azelis as a non-executive Director in 2018. Mr. Nieuwenburg has been a partner at EQT since 2013 and has led its expansion into the Western European region. He further served as chair of EQT Partners Inc. and head of private capital North America. Mr. Nieuwenburg serves as member of EQT's private equity investment committee and is chair of the EQT foundation investment committee. Through his roles as a private equity principal, he holds or has held non-executive director and chairman roles at various companies, including activated carbon technology provider, Desotec, private company data provider Bureau van Dijk, and abrasive and impact applications solution provider, Magotteaux in Belgium.
Mr. Nieuwenburg holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Delft University of Technology.
BertJanssens joined Azelis as a non-executive director in 2018, having led EQT's investment in Azelis. Mr. Janssens is a partner at EQT, where he is the head of Western Europe equity and a member of the private equity investment committee and management group. He joined EQT Group in 2015. Through his roles as a private equity principal, he holds or has held non-executive director roles at various companies, including idealista in Spain and Sitecore in Denmark.
Mr. Janssens holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in mechanical engineering from KU Leuven.
Tom Hallam joined Azelis as non-executive and independent director in 2022 and also serves as chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. Mr. Hallam’s career spans over 30 years of experience in finance leadership roles. He is currently Chief Financial Officer at Givaudan, a global leader in Fragrance & Beauty and Taste & Wellbeing. He joined Givaudan in 2008 as Group Controller, with responsibility for financial reporting and compliance, strategic planning and management of Givaudan’s business development process. He was appointed Chief Financial Officer effective January 1, 2017. Mr. Hallam began his career in the UK, working in various industries and positions. He moved to Switzerland in 1996 to join Serono in Geneva, where he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility, including Financial Director for Manufacturing Operations, and in 2001 he was appointed Vice President, Corporate Finance.
A UK and Swiss national, Mr. Hallam holds a degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Manchester and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Alexandra Brand joined Azelis as a non-executive director in 2019. Dr. Brand is the regional director for the Europe, Africa and Middle East region of Syngenta, an agricultural science and technology group, and previously held the role of chief sustainability officer at Syngenta. Prior to working at Syngenta, Dr. Brand held various management and executive roles and was involved in global research at BASF in Germany and in Mumbai, India. In addition, she currently serves as a non-executive director at Siegfried, a Swiss-based global manufacturer of pharmaceutical products.
Dr. Brand holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Technische Universität Darmstadt.
Ipek Özsüer joined Azelis as a non-executive director in 2021. Ms. Özsüer has more than 20 years of significant international business experience in technology and digital roles. She has held numerous high-profile roles, including senior leadership roles in digital transformation at Bayer and currently serves as DSM’s Chief Digital and Information Officer. She previously held positions focusing on business services, outsourcing, data and analytics for over twelve years at Hewlett Packard, started her career at Procter & Gamble in 1999.
Ms. Özsüer holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul.