NatureWorks, a leading manufacturer of polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymers made from renewable resources, announced the appointment of Erik Ripple as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Ripple will succeed interim President and CEO, Jill Zullo, who has served in the role since March 2023 when former CEO, Rich Altice, retired from NatureWorks. Ripple comes to NatureWorks from Nexeon, in the United Kingdom, a manufacturer of silicon carbide composites for electric vehicle batteries. As Chief Strategy Officer, he led the commercial, engineering, and program teams enabling the launch of their first commercial product to battery manufacturers.
Prior to that position, Ripple was the Chief Growth and Innovation Officer with Ingevity. In this role, he successfully positioned Ingevity to accelerate their latent innovation efforts and designed several acquisition pathways for Ingevity to execute. Ripple was previously the President of Asia Pacific, and the Senior Vice President for Performance Materials while living in Shanghai, China. Before joining Ingevity in 2010, Ripple spent 18 years with Eastman Chemical Company where he served in leadership roles in innovation, business management, and corporate development including holding regional responsibilities in Europe. Ripple received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University.
“We are pleased to welcome Erik as the new CEO of NatureWorks. Erik has a strong track record of global business leadership, building innovative teams, and driving growth in new markets,” said Narongsak Jivakanun, NatureWorks Board Chair. “As NatureWorks continues to drive the global adoption of sustainable, performance biomaterials, we are confident that Erik’s strategic capabilities will further build upon the company’s strong foundation. We also extend our full gratitude to Jill Zullo for her exceptional leadership over the past eight months to the NatureWorks team. Her input and guidance through this transition leave NatureWorks well positioned for continued success.”
“I am delighted to have been appointed to lead NatureWorks. It is a company that has been at the forefront of the low carbon, biomaterials industry for over 20 years fueled by a deeply committed, talented team and with an exciting global expansion underway in Thailand,” shared Erik Ripple, President and CEO, NatureWorks. “I’m looking forward to bringing together my background in developing nimble, creative teams and partnerships with the culture of innovation that has underscored NatureWorks’ growth and ambition in the biomaterials industry.”
NatureWorks recently announced the next phase of construction on the new fully integrated Ingeo PLA manufacturing facility in Thailand. The new 75 kta facility is on track to complete construction with production anticipated in 2025.