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. 

Executive Committee

Anna Bertona
Group Chief Executive Officer

Anna Bertona joined Azelis in 2013 as Group Vice President Strategic Planning & Implementation and was appointed as Chief Strategy & Principal Officer in 2014. In 2016, Ms. Bertona was appointed CEO of Azelis EMEA and became Azelis’ sponsor for sustainability within the Executive Committee.

Effective January 1, 2024, Ms. Bertona succeeded Hans Joachim Müller as Chief Executive Officer and joined the Board of Directors as executive director.

With over 30 years of experience, Ms. Bertona has held numerous management roles in several industries including consumer goods and automotive. Prior to joining Azelis, she worked in strategy consultancy, most recently as a partner at the global management consultancy firm, A.T. Kearney, where she was involved in assignments within the chemical industry, amongst others, with a focus on strategy, sales excellence, growth, performance improvements and post-merger integration.

Ms. Bertona holds a master’s in science in Industrial Design Engineering from the Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), as well as an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management.

Ms. Bertona also serves as a non-executive board member at Solabia.

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Thijs Bakker
Chief Financial Officer

Thijs Bakker joined Azelis as Chief Financial Officer in 2016. Mr. Bakker has over 20 years of 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. In 2023, Mr. Bakker was appointed as independent non-executive director in Oterra, a global market leader in the development and manufacturing of natural coloring ingredients for food and beverages headquartered in Denmark.

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.

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Evy Hellinckx
Chief Executive Officer, EMEA

Evy Hellinckx joined Azelis in 2016 as Strategy and Business Development Director for EMEA, where she was responsible for principal management across all segments in the region.

Prior to taking up the role of CEO EMEA, Ms. Hellinckx served as Managing Director of Azelis Benelux, where she has grown the company’s footprint significantly and contributed to the development and implementation of key strategic programs in the region.

Before joining Azelis, Ms. Hellinckx spent two years in the medical devices division of Johnson & Johnson and ten years in strategic consulting at Bain & Company.  She holds a master’s degree in commercial engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

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Todd Cottrell
Chief Executive Officer, Americas

Todd Cottrell joined Azelis in September 2023 as CEO Americas. He has had a three-decade-long career leading global chemicals and materials businesses focused on aerospace, coatings, sealants, adhesives, and composites markets.

Prior to Azelis, Mr. 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.

Mr. Cottrell 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. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Michigan Technological University and an MBA from Fuqua College of Business at Duke University.

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Sertaç Sürür
Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific

Sertaç Sürür joined Azelis Turkey in 2015 as Managing Director.

From 2017 to 2019, Mr. Sürür combined his role of Managing Director of Azelis Turkey with the position of Market Segment Director, Rubber & Plastics Additives in EMEA.

He has more than 24 years of experience in sales and management roles in the chemical industry within global companies like Azelis, DSM, Brenntag, and Ravago.

In 2022, Mr. Sürür was appointed to the CEO Asia Pacific role. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in chemical engineering from the Istanbul Technical University as well as an MBA from the National University in San Diego.

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Board of Directors

Executive Committee members Anna Bertona and Thijs Bakker are also members of the Board of Directors, together with our partners from EQT; Kristiaan Nieuwenburg and Bert Janssens. Tom Hallam, Kåre Schultz, Melanie Maas-Brunner, 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 Kåre Schultz .

The Remuneration and Nomination Committee consists of Kåre Schultz(chair), Melanie Maas-Brunner and Bert Janssens.

Kåre Schultz

Kåre Schultz (Chair of the Board of Directors) joined Azelis as a non-executive director in 2024. Most recently, Mr. Schultz served as President and CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries from 2017 until his retirement in 2023. Previously, Mr. Schultz served as President and Chief Executive Officer for H. Lundbeck A/S and worked for a large part of his career at Novo Nordisk, serving in numerous leadership roles. Mr. Schultz has been a member of several boards, including International Flavor and Fragrances, LEGO A/S, and Royal Unibrew A/S.

Mr. Schultz holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Copenhagen. 

Kristiaan Nieuwenburg

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 a member of EQT's Private Capital Investment and Portfolio Committees 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.

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Bert Janssens

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.

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Tom Hallam

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, responsible 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. 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).

Melanie Maas-Brunner

Melanie Maas-Brunner joined Azelis as a non-executive director in 2024. Ms. Maas-Brunner began her career at BASF in 1997, holding numerous positions from Research Scientist focusing on plasticizers to her most recent roles serving as Chief Technology Officer, Industrial Relations Director, and member of their Board of Executive Directors. In January 2024, she stepped down from the BASF Executive Board. Ms. Maas-Brunner has spent time working in Asia and Europe, focusing on innovation, human resources, and sustainability.

Ms. Maas-Brunner holds a PhD in Chemistry from RWTH Aachen University.

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Ipek Ozsuer

Ipek Özsüer joined Azelis as a non-executive director in 2021. Ms. Özsüer has been dsm-firmenich’s Chief Digital & Information Officer since May 2023. She has over 20 years of significant international business experience in technology and digital roles.

She started her career at Procter & Gamble in 1999 and has since held numerous high-profile positions, including senior leadership roles in digital transformation, data and analytics, and business services at DSM, Bayer, and Hewlett Packard. 

Ms. Özsüer holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul.


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