Dr Philip Boon (Chemistry with Biochemistry BSc, 1980; Physical Chemistry PhD, 1985)
What have you gone on to do since graduating from the University of Leicester?
I was appointed as Chief Operating Officer for Innospec Limited (Innospec Inc.), a $1.6 billion Nasdaq listed company, effective November 2015. In this role, I have direct responsibility for the global fuel specialties business as well as an overseeing role with our global performance chemicals and oilfield specialties businesses and have a key role in the strategic development of Innospec. Before this, I was the Executive Vice President of Business Operations from June 2009 and was responsible for all our businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). When joining the Company in 1997, I held various senior management positions covering most operational aspects of the business and as a result have over 30 years of international experience in the speciality chemicals industry. My PhD in Chemistry from The University of Leicester, coupled with hard work, has enabled me to work in various organisations such as Ciba Geigy and FMC in the U.S. and Europe.
As a prominent chemistry alumnus, what are the biggest challenges for the profession in the modern day?
I believe today's most significant challenges in the profession include: sustainability, carbon neutrality, geopolitical instability and un-harmonised regulations.
Do you have a favourite memory of the chemistry department or your tutor from your time at The University of Leicester?
I loved the social aspect of the department. I vividly remember getting destroyed by Paul Cullis at squash, even though he was a big guy, he could quickly move around that court! Also, I loved playing 5-a-side football with great players in the post-grad chemist’s team.
What advice and tips do you have for students and recent graduates who would like to enter a similar work role as you?
Do something you love or at least enjoy most of the time. If you want to get to the top, be prepared to make sacrifices, work really hard and be ready to take on opportunities when they come, live abroad if necessary and have a lot of determination.