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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Banking and Finance - Howard Ungerleider Shares his Plans and Strategy following his Retirement from Dow

Banking and Finance

Howard Ungerleider Shares his Plans and Strategy following his Retirement from Dow

The CFO and President of Dow, the multinational chemical producer, Howard Ungerleider, is retiring after 33 years. However, he envisions a second act for himself. Looking ahead, Ungerleider expresses a keen interest in continuing his leadership journey, possibly even considering a Chief Executive position.

Ungerleider is keen on making a significant impact and contributing to long-term value, whether as a public company CEO, in private equity, or through board service. He is currently engaged in exploratory conversations in these areas and plans to make decisions in 2024.

While focused on concluding his final year at Dow, Ungerleider emphasizes the importance of transferring knowledge to his successor, Jeff Tate, whom he describes as a phenomenal leader with a 25-year history. Tate assumed the role of CFO on Nov. 1, returning to Dow after serving as EVP and CFO of Leggett & Platt from 2019-2023.

Reflecting on his time at Dow, Ungerleider sheds light on the evolving role of CFOs over the last 30-plus years. Starting in the ’90s, CFOs often emerged from the treasury function, but with major disruptions like the Enron collapse in the early 2000s, the era of controllers began, making the CFO role more compliance-focused. Ungerleider notes that the financial crisis of ’08-’09 emphasized the CFO’s role as a copilot to the CEO, requiring leadership through transformation.

In 2017, Dow Chemical and DuPont merged, and Ungerleider served as CFO of DowDuPont. Subsequently, he was elected president in March 2018, preparing for the separation of the company and the creation of Dow Inc. Juggling roles as both CFO and president, Ungerleider played a crucial copilot role during this transformative period.

The strategy employed during this transformative time involved the concept of “forget, borrow, and learn.” Ungerleider explains the process of determining what to forget from the old, what to borrow and take forward, and identifying new skills or capabilities to learn.

In 2019, DowDuPont split into three separate public companies— Dow, DuPont de Nemours, and Corteva, a monumental and highly complex transaction transforming the chemical industry landscape, according to McKinsey.

Ungerleider’s career at Dow includes diverse roles globally, such as president of Dow’s Performance Plastics Division and VP of investor relations. Reflecting on his journey, he attributes his success to people taking chances on him early in his career.

 

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Banking and Finance - Howard Ungerleider Shares his Plans and Strategy following his Retirement from Dow
Anna Siampani
Anna Siampani, Lifestyle Editorial Director at the CEOWORLD magazine, working with reporters covering the luxury travel, high-end fashion, hospitality, and lifestyle industries. As lifestyle editorial director, Anna oversees CEOWORLD magazine's daily digital editorial operations, editing and writing features, essays, news, and other content, in addition to editing the magazine's cover stories, astrology pages, and more. You can reach Anna by mail at anna@ceoworld.biz