Earlier this month PPG Industries announced several executive assignments, effective Aug. 1. The assignments are as follows:

  • J. Rich Alexander, senior vice president, performance coatings, has been elected executive vice president and joins PPG's Executive Committee. 
  • Pierre-Marie De Leener, senior vice president, architectural coatings EMEA, and president, PPG Europe, has been elected executive vice president and also will join PPG's Executive Committee. In addition, De Leener will assume management responsibility for the company's information technology function. Werner Baer, vice president, information technology, will report to De Leener. 
  • Cynthia A. Niekamp, vice president, automotive coatings, has been elected senior vice president and will join PPG's Operating Committee. 
  •  Viktor R. Sekmakas, vice president, coatings, and president, PPG Asia/Pacific, has been elected senior vice president and will also join PPG's Operating Committee. In addition, Sekmakas will assume responsibility for PPG's packaging coatings business. Douglas Pegg, vice president, packaging coatings, will report to Sekmakas.

Alexander joined PPG in 1978 as a sales representative based in Detroit and subsequently held several branch sales and marketing positions. In 1992, he was named director of marketing, fiber glass reinforcements, based at PPG's Pittsburgh headquarters, and he was appointed director of marketing and sales, fiber glass electronics and specialty materials, in 1995. Alexander became general manager of electronics and specialty materials in 1996, and in 1997 was named general manager, fiber glass reinforcements. He was appointed global general manager, general industrial coatings, in 2000. Alexander then was elected vice president, industrial coatings, in 2002, and to his current position in 2005. A native of Normal, Ill., Alexander graduated cum laude from Kent State University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Capital University.

De Leener joined PPG with the acquisition of SigmaKalon Group in January 2008, and was appointed to his current roles that same year. He began his career as an analyst at PetroFina, Brussels, advancing to become production operations manager for PetroFina in Muanda, Zaire, and later marketing planning manager and then regional manager for Fina Oil and Chemical, Dallas. He was named chief operating officer of Fina Italiana in 1989 and became CEO in 1990. In 1995, De Leener was appointed general manager of Fina Research in Feluy, Belgium. He joined Sigma Coatings Group, Amsterdam, in 1997 as COO, and subsequently became CEO in 1998. When Total bought PetroFina in 1999, De Leener was appointed CEO of SigmaKalon Group. A native of Antwerp, Belgium, De Leener earned bachelor's degrees in economic science and philosophical science and became a qualified chemical engineer at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

Niekamp joined PPG in her current role in January 2009. She started her career with General Motors, where she progressed through several production supervisory and engineering positions with the Delco Moraine division. She moved to France with General Motors as resident controller, wheel brake systems, and returned to the United States in 1989 as plant manager, anti-lock braking systems, Delco Moraine division. From 1990 to 1995, Niekamp worked for TRW Automotive, Inc., where her last position was managing director, transportation systems. She then joined the Mead Corp. as vice president, corporate strategy and planning, and in 1998 was named president, specialty paper division. Following the 2002 merger of Mead with Westvaco Corp., Niekamp served as senior vice president, strategy and specialty operations, and then as senior vice president and chief financial officer for MeadWestvaco. She left in 2004 and joined BorgWarner, Inc., where she was president of the global TorqTransfer Systems business unit until 2008. She earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University.

Sekmakas joined PPG in 1997 with the acquisition of Lilly Industries' electrocoat business and became market development manager, powder coatings. Sekmakas became global director, automotive parts and accessories, in 2000, and then general manager, industrial coatings, Asia/Pacific, in 2001. In 2005, he added responsibility as managing director, coatings, Asia/Pacific, to his industrial coatings responsibilities. Sekmakas was named vice president, coatings, and managing director, Asia/Pacific, in 2006. He was named president, PPG Asia/Pacific, in 2008, and he additionally assumed responsibility for PPG's global industrial coatings business in early 2010. Prior to joining PPG, Sekmakas worked for Valspar as new business manager, starting in 1990, and for Lilly Industries starting in 1995 as electrocoat market manager. Sekmakas earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois.