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|Residence||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Education||Docteur en Physico-chimie macromoléculaire|
|Alma mater||École des Hauts Polymères de Strasbourg|
|Occupation||President & CEO, Diversey|
Ilham Kadri (born 1969) is a French, Moroccan business executive, the President & CEO of Diversey. She is widely recognised as a strong advocate for female literacy and women in business, as well as being a passionate advocate for sustainability and tackling the issue of water scarcity across the world.
Kadri grew up in Casablanca, Morocco, majoring in mathematics and physics at college. She then travelled to France to study physics, chemistry and mathematics at a Higher School Preparatory Class. In 1990, Kadri embarked on a Masters course in Physics and Chemistry, splitting her studies between Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 and Université Laval, Quebec.
After becoming a Master of Physics and Chemistry In 1991, Kadri moved to the École des Hauts Polymères de Strasbourg to take up studies in Chemical Engineering in the field of Polymer Physics and Chemistry. Two years later, in 1993, she began her PhD to become a Docteur en Physico-chimie macromoléculaire – gaining her doctorate in 1997.
Based on her Moroccan upbringing, Kadri describes education as her 'third exit'. This comes from a popular Moroccan saying, recited to her by her grandmother, which suggests that 'girls have two exits in their lives – one to their husband's home, and the second one to the grave'. Kadri's grandmother urged her to find a third exit, which she found in the form of education.
In 1997, Kadri joined Royal Dutch Shell as a Development and Technical Service Manager in Belgium – where she was part of a team that invented a synthetic bottle stopper made from a foamed thermoplastic elastomer to prevent the spread of fungi and bacteria from cork stoppers to stored liquids.
This led to a position with LyondellBasell in France, working in Sales and Global Key Account Management. During her time in this role, Kadri negotiated large automotive contracts globally, especially in France, Latin America and Japan.
In 2002, Kadri took on a Product Management and Marketing role at UCB in Belgium. She co-lead the creation of the division innovation processes, and joined Cytec as a result of the chemical business divestiture.
From 2005, Kadri joined Huntsman Corporation as a Marketing Director of the global Epoxy business divested to private equity.
In 2007, Kadri moved into the post of Marketing Director at Rohm and Haas, in its paint, coatings and construction businesses; staying with the company until its buy-out by Dow Chemical Company in 2009. She then became General Manager Middle East and Africa (MEA) for all its Advanced Materials division and the Commercial Director EMEA for Dow Water and Process Solutions, working to expand the company infrastructure and bring environmentally friendly downstream manufacturing into the region.
During her tenure at Dow Chemical, Kadri established a new customer base in MEA, built a new waterborne coatings plant in Dubai, oversaw expansions to new territories (Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria) and developed a series of strategic water projects in Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Israel, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. She also worked to tackle water scarcity across the Middle East and the rest of the world – in particular reducing the energy consumption needed to recycle water and encouraging businesses to take advantage of techniques to reuse waste water.
A major success for Kadri at Dow Chemical was the negotiation and construction launch of the first reverse osmosis (RO) membrane manufacturing for sea water desalination in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – replacing the country's first-generation thermal desalination technology. The new Dow plant introduced sustainable RO technology aimed at combating water shortages, reducing maintenance and energy costs, and reducing CO2 emissions.
2013- January 2019
From 2013, Kadri was a Senior Vice President and Officer for Sealed Air Corporation, taking on the role of President for the company’s hygiene and cleaning business, Diversey Care. This saw her responsible for driving the global business strategy and the division's profit and loss, while managing product innovation and maintaining a focus on sustainability.
On arriving at Diversey Care, Kadri was tasked with the turnaround of falling sales and profits, which saw her lead reforms of the service division. Kadri successfully made and integrated three merger and acquisition deals, introduced the first digital cleaning solution to the industry and invented the Internet of Clean (IoC).
She was also a key figure in Diversey Care focusing on a strategy of technological innovation. This includes the launch of the first global range of commercial cleaning robots across the US and Europe, and a digital food safety management platform that helps organizations to achieve regulatory compliance in the food industry.
In early 2016, Kadri became Sealed Air’s Digital Leader, responsible for Internet of Things (IoT) integration across the entire company – focusing on the IS digital architecture, external ecosystems acquisitions, digital monetisation and robotics. She is the inventor of the internet of clean (IoC), and re-imagined the industry by launching autonomous cleaning robots and connected dispensing equipment.
In 2017, Kadri was named President & CEO of Diversey as part of its acquisition by Bain Capital. This has seen her take on ultimate responsibility for the newly independent business and its future success.
Diversey acquisition by Bain Capital
In March 2017, Bain Capital announced that it was purchasing the Diversey Care division of Sealed Air for $3.2 billion, with the intention of running Diversey as a standalone company. It named Kadri as the President & CEO of the new business, and the sale was completed in September 2017. Diversey is now a standalone company, which includes the Diversey Care division as it was under Sealed Air, as well as the food hygiene solution business that was part of its Food Care division.
Upon completion of the sale, Kadri commented: "As an independent business, we will have the ability to be smarter and more agile than ever before as we introduce enhanced technology and innovation. As we work together with our formidable new ownership, our customers will be our singular focus."
From March 1st, 2019
As well as her role at Diversey, Kadri serves as a board member for numerous organizations. She is a board member at A.O. Smith Corporation (member of the audit committee); the Founder and Chairwoman of the ISSA Hygieia Network; an advisory board member of Catalyst in the USA; and an advisory board member of Leading Executives Advancing Diversity (LEAD) in Europe for the Retail sector.
The ISSA Hygieia Network
In November 2014, Kadri founded the not-for-profit ISSA Hygieia Network (IHN), alongside other female cleaning industry executives. Open to ISSA members of any gender, the IHN hosts a range of events with the purpose of developing female professionals of all levels and experience. It is a worldwide community committed to providing ongoing education, networking, professional development and recognition for any woman connected with the global cleaning industry.
It runs a scholarship programme that provides academic support for students looking to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business, management, finance, human resources, procurement or other approved programmes.
The IHN also hosts an annual awards event that recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the cleaning industry that fulfil one or more of the IHN’s goals and objectives.
Throughout her career, Kadri has committed herself to mentoring young women, and fighting female illiteracy. She has won a number of awards for this.
In 2017, she won four Stevie Awards at the 14th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. This included Gold for Woman of the Year (Industry), Silver for Women Helping Women (Business), Silver for Female Executive of the Year (Business Products – More than 2,500 Employees), and Bronze for Maverick of the Year.
On receiving the awards, Kadri commented: "I joined the cleaning industry just four years ago, so it is an honour to receive these accolades for my dedication to Diversey’s employees, customers and the many women working in low-level cleaning roles."
Her success at the 2017 awards builds on the recognition she received at the 2016 event, when she won four Silver Awards. These included Female Executive of the Year (Business Products – More than 2,500 Employees), Maverick of the Year (Industry), Women Helping Women in Business, and Woman of the Year (Industry).
As a leading figure in the professional cleaning and hygiene industry, Kadri is regularly invited to provide guest and keynote speeches at events around the world. This includes prestigious conferences like the World Cuisine Summit, where she spoke about the need to improve food safety and prevent food-borne illnesses.
Kadri resides in North Carolina with her husband, and is the mother of one child.
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