India’s Birla Carbon is reshaping its global corporate structure amid the pandemic, a move that carries unknown consequences for a regional headquarters in metro Atlanta.
Birla Carbon declined to give an official headcount of its Marietta office, which it gained nearly a decade ago through the acquisition of Columbian Chemicals for $875 million. On LinkedIn, 150 people are listed as working for the company in metro Atlanta.
The company said the moves to streamline its corporate reporting structure, instead of having independent business units in five geographies, would enable a keener focus on serving customers.
“We are always seeking ways to be more customer centric in everything we do,” said John Loudermilk, the Marietta-based chief operating officer, in a news release. “This transition supports that ambition while sharpening our focus on the markets we serve and delivering innovative solutions that help our customers create value.”
The pandemic also played a role in the shift, according to a spokesman, who declined to comment on the potential for job losses in Marietta except to say there would be some “reallocation” of workers among Birla Carbon’s global offices.
“The present global situation, which has led to new ways of working, the ‘new normal’, can be seen as one of the reasons contributing to this strategic change,” the spokesperson said in an email.
Executive changes include moving Sanjeev Sood, currently the president of the South Asia region, to the position of chief manufacturing officer for Asia and Dale Clark, currently chief technology officer, to chief manufacturing officer for the Americas, Europe and Africa. Both will continue to report to Mr. Loudermilk. Also reporting to Mr. Loudermilk will be chief sales and marketing officer John Davidson, who will transition out of the role of president for Europe and Africa.
Mark Bass, president of North America, and Todd Cottrell, president of Specialty and North Asia, are both leaving Birla Carbon to pursue other opportunities, according to a news release.
Brazil-based Ronaldo Duarte, president of the South America region, will retire later in 2020 after four decades in various leadership roles.
The chief manufacturing officer positions will drive consistency across the company’s 16 global factories, a spokesman said in an emailed statement to Global Atlanta. Given the centralization of authority in two major offices, the Marietta location didn’t seem to be at any risk of closure.
“The transition to a globally functional organization from the previously operated five global geographic regions will require some adjustments in employee roles being reallocated across Birla Carbon offices,” the spokesman said. “This transition will also strengthen the coordination and engagement between the two primary offices of Birla Carbon in Marietta and Mumbai.”
Birla Carbon is one of the world’s largest suppliers of carbon black, a reinforcing agent used in tires and other rubber products which is also used as a pigment for coloring inks, paints and more. It’s part of the $48.3 billion Aditya Birla Group. The global conglomerate, active in a variety of industrial sectors, also counts Atlanta-based aluminum giant Novelis Inc. as part of its portfolio. It operates innovation and technology centers for both Birla Carbon and Novelis in Marietta.
Santrupt Misra remains Birla Carbon’s CEO, based in Mumbai.
See the Marietta office on Google Maps below: