Ilham Kadri

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Ilham Kadri
Dr Kadri 004.jpg
Born 1969
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)[1] 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,[2][3][4][5] as well as being a passionate advocate for sustainability and tackling the issue of water scarcity across the world.[6][7]


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'.[8] 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'.[8] Kadri's grandmother urged her to find a third exit, which she found in the form of education.[8][9]



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.[10]

Ilham Kadri speaks at a Diversey event.

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[7] and encouraging businesses to take advantage of techniques to reuse waste water.[6]

Ilham Kadri signs the deal for the first membrane desalination plant in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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.[11]

2013- January 2019[edit]

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).[12]

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,[13] and a digital food safety management platform that helps organizations to achieve regulatory compliance in the food industry.[14]

Originally based in the Netherlands, Kadri relocated to Sealed Air’s new corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, when it opened in 2015.[15][16]

Ilham Kadri interviewed at a Sealed Air event

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[17][18] 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[edit]

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."[19]

From March 1st, 2019[edit]

CEO of Solvay[20]

Board memberships[edit]

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[21][22] (member of the audit committee); the Founder and Chairwoman of the ISSA Hygieia Network;[23] an advisory board member of Catalyst in the USA;[24][25] and an advisory board member of Leading Executives Advancing Diversity (LEAD) in Europe for the Retail sector.[26]

The ISSA Hygieia Network[edit]

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.[27][9] It is a worldwide community committed to providing ongoing education, networking, professional development and recognition for any woman connected with the global cleaning industry.[9]

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.[27]

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.[27][28][29]


Throughout her career, Kadri has committed herself to mentoring young women, and fighting female illiteracy.[16] 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.[30][31]

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."

Ilham Kadri speaks at a Sealed Air event

Her success at the 2017 awards builds on the recognition she received at the 2016 event, when she won four Silver Awards.[3][32] 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).

Kadri was recognised by the Charlotte Business Journal Women in Business Awards as a 2016 winner.[4][8]

In June 2017, she won two Women World Awards – Gold for Women Helping Women category and the Bronze award for Female Executive of the Year.[2][33]

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.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Kadri resides in North Carolina with her husband, and is the mother of one child.


  1. ^ Annual Report Sealed Air, 2016; Executive Officers, at, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 2017. Accessed 2017-09-22.
  2. ^ a b Hibbit, Claire (15 June 2017). "Diversey Care president honoured at Women World Awards". INCLEAN Magazine. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Diversey Care President Wins Four Awards in 2016 Stevie Awards for Women in Business". CleanLink. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  4. ^ a b "CBJ reveals this year's Women in Business award winners". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  5. ^ IIC Partners (n.d.). "Inside Inclusive Leadership: An interview with Ilham Kadri" (PDF). IIC Partners.
  6. ^ a b Lane, Adam. "Exclusive Interview: Dow's Dr Ilham Kadri |". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  7. ^ a b EmiratesNewsDubai (2012-04-21), World Water Day, retrieved 2017-08-22
  8. ^ a b c d Diversey Care (2017-04-19), Dr. Ilham Kadri's Women in Business Award, retrieved 2017-08-22
  9. ^ a b c Catalyst (2015-09-10), Sealed Air's Global Leadership Conference with Ilham Kadri and Deborah Gillis, retrieved 2017-08-22
  10. ^ . Emanuelle Coignoul, Ilham Kadri, Kraton Polymers Research B.V. "Patent WO2001002263A1 - Synthetic bottle stopper". Google Books. 2000-07-04.
  11. ^ "Dow to invest in Kingdom's water technology". Arab News. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  12. ^ Nichols, Greg. "The Internet of Clean: Diversey's plan to change commercial cleaning with connected technology | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  13. ^, gembiz ltd. "Sealed Air Step Into Robotics with Intellibot Acquisition". Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  14. ^ "Diversey Care makes food safety management digital". Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  15. ^ "Charlotte exec named CEO of cleaning products company". charlotteobserver. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  16. ^ a b Digital, MAZ (2016-06-04). "NC trend: Trash talk - Business North Carolina". Business North Carolina. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  17. ^ Hunter, Lizzie (2 August 2017). "Dr Ilham Kadri named president and CEO of Diversey". INCLEAN Magazine. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Dr. Ilham Kadri Named President and CEO of Diversey". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  19. ^ "Diversey Becomes Standalone Company upon Completion of Its Acquisition by Bain Capital – Company Announcement -". Retrieved 2017-09-22.
  20. ^ "La Franco-Marocaine Ilham Kadri prendra la tête du groupe chimique Solvay". Le (in French). Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  21. ^ "A. O. Smith names Dr. Ilham Kadri to board of directors (NYSE:AOS)". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  22. ^ Corporation, A. O. Smith. "A. O. Smith names Dr. Ilham Kadri to board of directors". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  23. ^ "THE ISSA HYGIEIA NETWORK » Home". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  24. ^ bsanders (2012-11-08). "Board of Advisors". Catalyst. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  25. ^ RPappas (2017-06-15). "Catalyst Names New US Class Members to the Catalyst Women on Board™ Initiative". Catalyst. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  26. ^ "LEAD Network Advisory Board". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  27. ^ a b c ISSA. "ISSA › ISSA Hygieia Network". Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  28. ^ "Winners of the ISSA Hygieia Network 2016 Awards are announced - Cleaning Hygiene Today". Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  29. ^ "ISSA Hygieia Network To Host Annual Awards Ceremony". CleanLink. Retrieved 2017-08-15.
  30. ^ "ISSA - The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (via Public) / Diversey President Wins Four Stevie Awards". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  31. ^ "2017 Stevie Award Winners | Stevie Awards". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  32. ^ "Diversey Care President Wins Four Awards in 2016 Stevie Awards for Women in Business - Press Release". Healthcare Facilities Today. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  33. ^ "Diversey Care President Receives 2 Women World Awards | Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  34. ^ Sirha (2015-01-27), World Cuisine Summit 2015 (4/8), retrieved 2017-11-21