Focussed on growth

The Azelis leadership team oversees the company’s business strategy, ensuring effective corporate governance and implementing a fresh, innovative vision of chemical distribution – globally.

Executive Committee

Dr. Hans Joachim Müller
Group Chief Executive Officer

Hans Joachim Müller holds a PhD in Chemistry from the LMU (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) university in Munich, one of Europe's premier academic and research institutions.

He also obtained a research fellowship at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). Müller joined Azelis from a leading speciality chemicals company where he sat on the Executive Committee.

His responsibilities included the business units catalysis & energy, emulsions, detergents & intermediates and oil & mining services.

Prior to this, he was a member of the Managing Board and Head of the Catalytic Technologies global Business Unit at a company specialising in catalysts and adsorbents.

His professional career started at a German chemicals company and continued in Hong Kong, where he was overseeing an inorganics business in Asia-Pacific.

As Group CEO, Hans Joachim Müller is ultimately responsible for achieving the financial returns set by the shareholders and for implementing the strategic direction set by the Board.

Thijs Bakker
Chief Financial Officer

Thijs 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.

Bakker has over 15 years’ international experience in finance and the chemical industry, having worked in various finance roles in the Netherlands, U.S. and across Asia Pacific for a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of speciality chemicals. In his most recent assignment, he was Finance Director Marine & Protective Coatings, based in Singapore.

Bakker joined Azelis as Chief Financial Officer in September 2016. He is a British national and currently lives with his wife and son in Antwerp.

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Anna Bertona
Chief Executive Officer & President, EMEA

Anna holds a Master of Science in Industrial Design Engineering from the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Rotterdam School of Management.

She initially held roles in product development in the automotive and consumer goods sector. After obtaining her Master's degree in Business Administration, she worked in strategy consultancy, most recently as a partner within A.T. Kearney. She has successfully completed a number of strategy, sales and performance improvement assignments, mainly in the utilities, transportation and chemicals industries.

Anna joined Azelis as Group VP Strategic Planning & Implementation in 2013 and was appointed Chief Strategy & Principal Officer in 2014. In 2016 she was appointed Chief Executive Officer EMEA to steer our market teams in the region and with a particular focus on Azelis principal development activities.

Anna Bertona lives in the North East area of Antwerp and in her spare time she participates in triathlons.

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Frank Bergonzi
Chief Executive Officer & President, Americas

Frank Bergonzi holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and has over 34 years of experience in the specialty chemical industry.

In 2012, Bergonzi was appointed President & CEO of KODA Distribution Group. Prior to that, he was Director, Corporate Distribution at one of the world’s leading chemical producers. He has held numerous key management positions with Fortune 100 Companies during his career.

In December 2015, Bergonzi was appointed CEO & President Azelis Americas, and is a member of the Azelis Board of Directors.

Bergonzi served on the Board of the NACD (National Association of Chemical Distributors) and also served as Chairman of the Supplier Advisory Panel, in addition to his role as a Board Trustee of the Chemical Education Fund. He is also an active member in the Chemical Club of New England (CCNE), Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC), American Coatings Association (ACA) and Drug, Chemical and Associated Trade (DCAT).

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Laurent Nataf
Chief Executive Officer & President, Asia Pacific

Laurent Nataf holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the Engineering School of Industrial Chemistry of Lyon, France and an MBA from the Sorbonne Graduate Business School in Paris, France. He spent the first six years of his career in R&D and production for a French based heavy detergents company.

In 2003 Nataf became Marketing and Sales Manager for Arnaud (founded in 1908 and merged with Italian company Novorchem to form Azelis in 2001).

His initial responsibilities at Arnaud included intermediates, custom synthesis, formulation additives and active ingredients. He went on to assume the role of International Business Director Chemical Industries in 2008, assumed responsibility for Composites in 2010 and then took on overall responsibility for the Azelis Industrial Chemicals business.

In 2012 Nataf was appointed Group Chief Operating Officer, a position he held until the recent appointment for CEO and President Asia Pacific in August 2016. He and his family have relocated to Singapore, following this last appointment.

In his spare time, Nataf enjoys football and travelling and tries to spend a lot of time with his two young daughters.

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Board of Directors

Executive Committee members Hans-Joachim Muller, Frank Bergonzi and Thijs Bakker are also members of the Board of Directors, together with our partners from Apax, Mario Preißler, Michael Roney and Dr. Antonio Trius.

Mario Preißler

Mario Preißler

Mario Preißler has over 25 years experience in the specialty chemicals sector, with 20 years in senior management positions at Hoechst and Clariant. Subsequently he served 4 years on the board at DKSH and is currently a non-executive board member at Norafin in Germany.  Mario joined Azelis in 2015. 

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Michael Roney

Michael Roney was formerly non-executive director and then from 2005, Chief Executive Officer of Bunzl, the international distribution and outsourcing group. He also held a number of other senior management positions including at Goodyear, and non-executive positions including at Johnson Matthey PLC and Brown-Forman Corporation. Michael joined Azelis in 2016.

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Dr. Antonio Trius

Dr. Trius, ex CEO of Cognis, has held senior and board level roles in a number of well known chemical companies that include Cognis and Henkel AG. More recently Dr Trius has been a board member of Lonza Group AG since April 2013 and on the supervisory board at Altana AG since July 2012. 

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Giancarlo Aliberti
Partner, Apax

Giancarlo joined Apax Partners in 2000 and is based in London. Beyond a leadership position in the Services team, he leads Apax activities in Italy, Turkey and Greece. He has both led and participated in a number of key deals including Azelis, and he is a Director on the Board of Azelis, among others.

Prior to joining Apax Partners, Giancarlo was a Senior Vice President at Monitor Company, where he specialised in telecommunications and consulting support to private equity firms. He also worked at Montedison in a staff function supporting the President of the company.

Giancarlo holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a summa cum laude degree in Economics from University of Rome.

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Frank Ehmer
Partner, Apax

Based in London and focussing on global financial and business services opportunities, Frank originally joined Apax Partners in 2000 in Munich and has been part of the Media Team previously. He has been involved in a number of key deals and he has served as board member to a number of Apax portfolio companies including Azelis.

Frank holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Diploma in business administration from the University of Mannheim.

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Anders Meyerhoff
Principal, Apax

Anders joined Apax Partners in 2012 and is currently based in London. He has participated in a number of key deals and he serves on the Board of Azelis, among others.

Prior to joining Apax Partners, Anders was at Oak Hill Capital Management in New York and San Francisco where he focussed primarily on investment opportunities in the Healthcare Industry. He also worked at Bank of America in their Leveraged Finance Group, advising clients across industries.

Anders holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and BAs in Economics and German from Stanford University.

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