Craig Rogerson is recovering at his winter home in Florida, the company says. Meanwhile, it has a sign outside its East Broad Street HQ for the first time ever.
Hexion Inc. is one of those companies quietly doing substantial business from a home base in Columbus, with headquarters and about 250 Ohio employees at 180 E. Broad St. Downtown. The $3.4 billion chemical manufacturer has 46 worldwide locations and 4,000 employees. Yet it never had a sign outside its offices here until about a month ago.
The changes Hexion has navigated in recent years are major. It underwent bankruptcy restructuring in 2019, emerging with new owners, a new board and a much lighter debt burden. This year, as the coronavirus pandemic surfaced in the United States, its CEO Craig Rogerson came down with symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel version of the virus. He went on leave March 30 and later tested positive for the virus, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “After treatment, subsequent tests have returned negative, but Mr. Rogerson remains under medical care as he recovers,” the April 30 filing said.
As of May 21 as the magazine went to press, he remained on leave in Florida, where he has a winter home, the company said.Stay up to date with the region’s movers and shakers, top employers, philanthropic causes, real estate developments and thriving creative and startup scenes. Subscribe to Columbus CEO’s weekly newsletter.
“He is getting care and improving,” says acting CEO George Knight, the company’s CFO since 2015. One thing that did not change in Hexion’s restructuring was its management. “We have a very seasoned senior leadership team,” says Knight, who has been with Hexion and its predecessors for 23 years. “We’ve been together a long time. Everybody really stepped up and has been very supportive of me and the company. We’re all doing what we can to get through this.”
Something many of us have been doing to get through the past two months is helping others who may not be faring as well during the crisis. Hexion’s been doing that as well, repurposing some of its mixers to make hand sanitizer with isopropyl alcohol and glycerin. “In this time there’s a lot of things we can’t control, so to do something like this gives associates something to rally around and feel good about,” Knight says.
Hexion’s business has not been hit as hard as many others because it is deemed essential in most countries where it operates. The maker of resins and coatings for the automotive, durable goods and other industries has continued operating its global plants, which don’t require a dense population of workers, and is beginning to plan for what a return to its Columbus HQ will look like, “the big thing being to make sure people feel comfortable returning,” Knight says.
Many offices will be reconfigured, we’ll be wearing masks, and use of common areas could be scheduled to avoid crowding. Some companies will stagger attendance for the same purpose. Those who are able may continue working from home all summer.
Speaking of summer, I hope you’ll find this issue a breath of fresh air, as I do—the weight of this Editor’s Note aside. Giant bouquets of flowers, closets bursting with colorful apparel, and podcasts that delight listeners with smart voices from, well, anywhere—that’s what we’re turning to. Please enjoy not taking everything so seriously for an hour or two.