Randall S. Dearth / Calgon Carbon, President and CEO

What drives you up the wall? "People who resist change drive me up a wall."

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Three-time CEO Randall S. Dearth says good leaders have vision and energy, good communications and organizational skills, and respect the differences among the people in their organization.

As the former CEO of Lanxess while it was the best performing public company in the 2012 edition of the Post-Gazette Top 50, Mr. Dearth might be on to something.

He left Lanxess in August to take the top job at Calgon Carbon, a Robinson environmental products and services provider. He has served on Calgon's board since 2007.

Mr. Dearth said his vision and energy are focused forward, not backward.

"I don't focus on the 'what ifs' of the past," he said. "I believe that once you make a decision -- and you believe in your decision -- you should see it through to completion."

At Calgon Carbon, he quickly implemented a $10 million restructuring that included closing sales offices, warehouses and an activated carbon plant in China. The initiative was part of a three-step plan to generate $30 million in cost cuts and efficiencies.

Mr. Dearth said as a child his love of science made him want to be a physician. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Hiram College and a master's degree in polymer science and engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

He joined Bayer Chemicals in 1988, where he held sales, marketing and other positions before becoming president of the company in 2002. A year later, when the German company spun off its industrial chemicals business and part of its polymer unit, Mr. Dearth became president and CEO of the new business, called Lanxess. Its North American headquarters are in Findlay.

Mr. Dearth said those who want to be leaders should work hard, be patient, focus on results and surround themselves with a good team. They should also embrace change.

"In order for a business to be successful, it must constantly reinvent itself, given changes in technology, markets, competition and people," he said.


-- Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941 First Published May 3, 2013 4:00 AM


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