Paul Booth, one of the leading figures in the UK chemical industry, is retiring from SABIC after almost 50 years of service in the industry.
Paul has held a number of influential business roles across the region and the UK process sector for SABIC, Huntsman and ICI.
Having started his career as an apprentice at ICI on Teesside in 1967, Paul’s extensive career has seen him take on a number of senior executive roles across Teesside and Europe, including site director, acting vice-president Europe and latterly as senior director, government relations and public affairs for SABIC in Europe.
In 2013, he received an OBE in recognition for his services to the industry.
Although he is retiring from SABIC, Paul is continuing his role as chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU). He will also continue his role on the Board of Governors for Teesside University and on the boards of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) and Transport for the North.
He was previously honorary president for the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) in the UK, is a former member of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) Council and the European Chemical Industry Council, and a former board member for Plastics Europe North.
He was also chairman of the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), deputy chair of the National Skills Academy, chairman of Redcar and Cleveland College and a board member of Teesside-based technical training group, TTE.
After receiving the OBE three years ago, Paul said: “I thank SABIC for giving me the opportunity to represent not only the company but the industry as a whole on a national and European platform on the many critical issues our sector is facing.
“This industry has given me so much, so I have always been keen to try to put back more than I take out. I think it is important to do all I can for the industry, not for reward or recognition, but because it is the right thing to do.”
Having spent his illustrious career predominantly in the North East of England, Paul has been staunchly committed in developing the local area and industry whilst nurturing local talent.
A child of 1950s industrial Teesside, North Ormesby-born Paul’s early fascination with Meccano sets inspired him to take up a four-year mechanical engineering apprenticeship with ICI before studying for a mechanical engineering degree in Manchester.
Returning to Teesside, he was employed as a development engineer on ICI’s Aromatics facility at North Tees and worked his way through the ranks, managing engineering operations at the Wilton and Billingham sites.
After taking on what he describes as a number of “difficult and challenging” roles in the early 1990s as ICI began to change on the back of recession, Paul moved into production management on the Olefins 6 Cracker at Wilton before honing his strategic abilities in the company’s corporate procurement department.
In 1999, after Huntsman bought ICI’s petrochemical division, he was appointed as the American company’s European Vice President of manufacturing and technology, later becoming president of SABIC UK Petrochemicals when the Saudi Arabian giant bought the existing Teesside facilities in 2006.
Mark Williams, SABIC’s Vice President, Europe said: “Paul is a great ambassador for both our company and industry as a whole, something that was formally recognised by HRH Queen Elizabeth when he was awarded an OBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List. We know that Paul will continue to work to secure the future of the manufacturing industry in the region.
“We thank Paul for his immense contribution to the company over the years and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.”