close and back to page

Latest News

Latest News

Video: BASF's Derek Fairclough: Sponsoring Black Resource Group Changed This Leader

How did a white chemical executive from Scotland end up as the executive sponsor of an African-American resource group?

By Barbara Frankel

How did a white chemical executive from Scotland end up as the executive sponsor of an African-American resource group? For Derek Fairclough, the assignment was serendipitous but resulted in his becoming a better leader.

When Fairclough was appointed to his current role at BASF in 2011, he was told that his predecessor had been the executive sponsor of the African-American resource group.

"They asked me if I wanted to do this moving forward. I recognized it as an opportunity. I'm not sure if I went in with many expectations up front," he recalls.

The experience, which he would very much like to replicate with another resource group in the future, has been eye opening. "It's helped me understand [and grow] the way we attract people to the company and how we develop the talent. The stories of many of the African-American employees really gave me a different perspective. I realized it was necessary to be proactive to address some of these issues," he says.

Being a Corporate Diversity Leader

Fairclough has the ability to do that as a corporate leader and an executive on BASF's diversity council in North America. He's proud of the progress the company is making, especially earning on spot on the DiversityInc Top 50 for the first time, at No. 31. BASF was named DiversityInc's Top Company for Diversity-Management Progress at an Oct. 16 event in New York City.

"We've decided to take some substantial steps," he says, noting multiplepartnerships with Historic Black Colleges and Universities. He cites as an example the company's relationship with North Carolina A&T University and BASF's efforts to recruit more Black students.

"I've taken a personal role in this and we've had outreach to the university to make BASF a company that is attractive to the students. We tell them what opportunities there are," he says.

Fairclough also notes that the company has been rolling out and emphasizing its cross-cultural mentoring programs and trying to provide employees more access to senior managers so they can better understand opportunities for development.

He also personally mentors several employees and notes that the company's mentoring program was piloted with the African-American resource group in Charlotte, N.C., for which he is executive sponsor.

A Global Perspective

Fairclough is a native of Scotland who attended university in Glasgow and then moved to Northern England to work for Hickson and Welch before returning to his homeland to join Ciba. BASF acquired Ciba in 2008, and Fairclough moved to the United States when the two companies were integrated in 2009.

"I've learned to appreciate the vast diversity that exists in all of these countries," he says. "One of the things I've experienced is how it feels to be a little bit of an outsider and not know the culture. That's a help to me to understand how it feels to be a minority employee in a large organization," he says.

He also notes that he has learned to appreciate the impact of diversity on high-performing teams. "I've seen many different people come together. It can be a little challenging at the start with different cultures, perspectives and experiences. The results can be outstanding and ultimately benefit business performance," he says.

For BASF in the United States, Fairclough feels there are much higher expectations from both customers and employees on the need for diversity and inclusion. As a global company headquartered in Germany, "it's even more important that we can connect to our customers and meet their requirements. Having a very diverse and open culture really helps us drive our business goals," he says.

The greatest challenge for the company, in his view, is "to create the culture where people feel more empowered, more capable of contributing to the business—that's both a challenge and a huge opportunity." He notes BASF's increased use of its resource groups as a talent-development and engagement tool. "It's a big help in connecting with employees and we are starting to see results," he says.

Up next is getting all the senior leaders to understand the increasing importance of diversity and inclusion to business goals. "People look for actions. They want visible and active leaders," Fairclough says. "A proactive leadership approach is extremely important. Don't just sit back and be passive."

The Conversation

BASF Has Developed the World's First Particle Foam Based on Polyethersulfone

The foam, that is lightweight, stiff and strong, highly temperature resistant, intrinsically flame retardant, is suitable for complex-shaped components in cars, airplanes and trains.

Originally Published by BASF.

After two years of intensive research, BASF is now able to present prototypes of the world's first particle foam based on polyethersulfone (PESU). The foam is characterized by its unique combination of properties: high-temperature resistance, inherent flame retardancy - and its extreme light weight coupled with great stiffness and strength. It is therefore particularly well suited for complex-shaped components in cars, airplanes and trains, which require excellent mechanical properties together with the ability to withstand high operating temperatures or to meet stringent flame-retardant requirements. The expandable PESU granulate is pre-foamed into beads with low densities between 40 and 120 g/L and can be processed into molded parts with complex 3D geometries using technologies available on the market.

Read More Show Less

BASF's Luminate FCC Catalyst Helps Refiners Increase Liquid Product Yields

The new catalyst, based on innovative Improved Zeolite Y (IZY) technology, achieves high conversion and low delta coke.

Originally Published by BASF.

BASF introduced Luminate™, a new generation of Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) catalysts for gasoil refiners. The Luminate catalyst is tailored to deliver superior conversion while improving coke selectivity, which can help refineries maximize profitability. This is BASF's first catalyst based on a new Improved Zeolite Y (IZY) technology.

Read More Show Less

BASF closes acquisition of vegetable seeds business from Bayer

It strengthens BASF's seed platform and complements the recently expanded Agricultural Solutions portfolio, which includes seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming.

Originally Published by BASF.

BASF closed the acquisition of Bayer's global vegetable seeds business, mainly operating under the brand Nunhems®. The transaction adds a well-recognized brand with a very successful business track record to BASF's portfolio. The acquired vegetable seeds business comprises 24 crops and about 2,600 varieties. It also includes well-established, strong R&D and breeding systems with over 100 unique breeding programs in more than 15 crops.

Read More Show Less

BASF Calls for Proposals: Inaugural Newtrition Health Innovation Challenge

The selected applicants will receive valuable insights on how BASF can support, collaborate, and partner at different stages of solution development; from ideation to prototyping, supply chain and commercialization.

Originally Published by BASF.

Newtrition®, BASF's human nutrition brand invites innovators and entrepreneurs worldwide to participate in the first-ever Newtrition Health Innovation Challenge. Co-hosted by Newtrition and BASF Venture Capital (BVC), the challenge is an opportunity for applicants to present breakthrough solutions for pressing health challenges to the jury that is composed of representatives from BVC, BASF Human Nutrition R&D, marketing and sales, as well as a panel of renowned professors at a one-day event in Singapore on October 8, 2018.

Read More Show Less

BASF Submits Regulatory Dossiers for Two New Herbicide Active Ingredients

Global registration initiatives have started for herbicides Luximo™ and Tirexor.™

Originally Published by BASF.

BASF has started the global registration initiatives for two new herbicide active ingredients. The company submitted the regulatory dossier for Luximo™ herbicide in the European Union (EU) and in Australia and for Tirexor™ herbicide in Australia as well. These steps are important milestones in expanding BASF's global herbicide portfolio. The two compounds have demonstrated excellent performance against a broad range of difficult-to-control grasses and broadleaf weeds and are expected to help growers worldwide successfully safeguard their crops while managing the ongoing challenge of herbicide resistance.

Read More Show Less

Future mobility and human needs inspire BASF's 2018-19 Automotive Color Trends

Collection "Keep it Real" connects the digitalized with the physical world.

Originally Published by BASF.

The need to stay authentic in a world where technology continues to blur the lines between reality and artificiality is the driving force behind the BASF's 2018-19 Automotive Color Trends theme – "Keep it Real".

Read More Show Less

Innovations by BASF Will Help to Make Electric Vehicles a Practical Reality for Everyone

BASF's cathode active materials make batteries more powerful, reliable and affordable; Battery materials shape the future of electromobility

Originally Published by BASF.

With the holiday season and sunnier days approaching in the northern hemisphere, traffic inevitably increases on highways, in cities and around sightseeing spots. Additionally, a rising number of commuters contribute to growing nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions with adverse impacts on air quality and climate. By 2025, there will be approximately 1.5 billion cars on the roads worldwide. "This growing need for mobility creates challenges, but at the same time provides vast opportunities to develop innovative technologies that address these," said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of BASF.

Read More Show Less

BASF and employees donate $300,000 to Capital Area United Way

"Capital Area United Way provides our community with the services and programs that are needed to improve the quality of life for many of our neighbors in need, said Tom Yura, Senior Vice President and General Manager.

Originally Published by BASF.

BASF recently continued its longtime support of the Capital Area United Way by presenting the organization with a $300,000 check during a fundraising event and jambalaya cook-off at the BASF site in Geismar. The donation represents the total amount pledged during the 2017-2018 United Way campaign by BASF and employees from the BASF facilities in Geismar, North Geismar and Zachary.

Read More Show Less