Vertellus hires longtime chemical, plastics executive as CEO

Indianapolis specialty chemical manufacturer Vertellus has hired John Van Hulle as CEO, the company announced Thursday.

Van Hulle, a longtime executive in the specialty chemical and plastic industries, will began the job immediately. He replaces former president and CEO Rich Preziotti, who left the company in May after more than 10 years in the position.

Van Hulle, 59, spent 11 years with Avon Lake, Ohio-based resin distributor PolyOne, where he was president of the global color, additives and ink division before retiring in July 2017.

He previously was CEO of ChemDesign Corp. (2001-2006) and president of the specialty and fine chemicals group at Cambrex Corp. (1994-2000).

Vertellus said Van Hulle’s “accomplished track record includes achieving aggressive performance objectives through organic growth and the successful integration of multiple strategic acquisitions.”

Van Hulle is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received an MBA from California State Polytechnic University.

“Vertellus has a robust portfolio of existing technologies as well as a pipeline of promising innovations that position the company to drive value for our customers and stakeholders,” Van Hulle said in written remarks. “I am honored and delighted to be part of a team committed to using Vertellus’ technologies and expertise to deliver value to customers around the globe.”

Vertellus and its affiliates manufacture chemiclas used in agiculture, life sciences, industrial specialties, nutrition, personal care and plastics. One of its best-known products is DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellents.

The company went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016 and was acquired by its lenders for $454 million in debt relief.

Vertellus has more than 800 employees in the United States, United Kingdom, India and China, including more than 200 in Indianapolis who work at a plant at 1500 S. Tibbs Ave. and corporate offices at 201 N. Illinois St.

The company, which got its start in 1857 as a maker of castor oil, was known as Reilly Industries before a merger with Rutherford Chemicals in 2006.

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