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WRA presidency: Borgas hands over to Jackson


First North American and first female president


Carol Jackson, Chairman and CEO of HarbisonWalker International (HWI), has been elected as the incoming president of the World Refractory Association (WRA). Jackson will begin her two-year term in January 2020, succeeding Stefan Borgas, CEO RHI Magnesita, who has led the organization since January 2018.


“I’m honored to lead WRA through its next chapter and continue building on the tremendous momentum our organization has achieved under Stefan’s leadership,” said Jackson. “As the global voice of the refractory industry, it is imperative for us to unify and advance the common interests of this trade association, as we promote the value and criticality of refractory in manufacturing to all our stakeholders.”


Formed in 2014, WRA has grown from 12 to 22 members in the last two years and has itself become a member of the World Steel Association (WSA). Under Borgas’ leadership, the WRA established working groups (Digital Data Standards, HS Codes, International Standards, Environmental Standards, Online Repository of Technological Papers, Communications Committee) to address specific areas of interest to the global refractory industry and its stakeholders. It also hosted the industry’s first Innovation Conference in China in fall 2018.


Jackson said that the success in adding and engaging membership under Borgas’ leadership paves the way for WRA to focus on continued growth and further elevate member engagement. She also affirmed that priorities for the organization would center on technology and innovation, sustainability, safety, customer collaboration, and communication initiatives to help unlock the full value potential of the refractory industry.


“Through my role with WRA, I’m looking forward to applying the passion and intensity that is inherent in our HWI culture to help guide the interests of our global industry. HWI has been a refractory leader and innovator for more than 150 years, and we are intensely at work to evolve our company for the next 150 years. Our company goals and focus on innovation closely parallel the objectives of WRA,” said Jackson.

Borgas wishes Jackson every success in the task ahead: "The refractories industry is facing numerous hurdles. The will to innovate within the industry came just in time. But the next challenges are already waiting: The macroeconomic situation is difficult for our business and we also have a major responsibility in the fight against the climate crisis. Carol Jackson will represent the refractories industry with a courageous and strong voice. She will steer us through these stormy times with a safe hand.”


About Carol R. Jackson


As President, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer of HarbisonWalker International (HWI), Carol R. Jackson, 47, leads North America’s oldest and largest refractory producer. She inspires more than 1,800 employees globally by guiding the company’s vision for growth and overseeing all aspects of its operations. Carol was unanimously elected to her role in 2017 after serving for three years as HWI’s Senior Vice President and General Manager. A diverse business executive with a passion for driving results in the manufacturing sector, Carol has spent more than 20 years of her career in the paint, coatings, chemicals, glass, ceramic materials, and specialty steel industries, serving automotive, industrial, consumer, and construction markets. Before joining HWI in 2014, Carol served as Vice President of the bar, wire, and strip business units of Carpenter Technology Corporation. She also progressed through numerous roles at PPG Industries, where she was ultimately Director of Global Raw Materials Purchasing. In 2019, Carol was elected to the Board of Directors of Sensient Technologies Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of colors, flavors and fragrances. She was also named a 2019 Outstanding CEO and Top Executive by the Pittsburgh Business Times/American City Business Journals.

A licensed attorney in the state of Pennsylvania, she holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business. She earned her undergraduate degree from Duquesne University. She is also an alumnus and a Board member of Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania and is chairman of its BizTown Capital Campaign. She’s also been involved with the United Way and numerous other local organizations.


Carol Jackson is CEO and chairwoman of HarbisonWalker International. With more than 150 years of industry leadership and global recognition, HarbisonWalker International is the largest supplier of refractory products and services in North America. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the company’s international network spans North America, Europe, and Asia, with 17 manufacturing plants, 30 global sourcing centers, and technology facilities in both the United States and China. Serving virtually every major industry that requires refractory solutions to enhance production and protect assets, HWI is consistently recognized for its talented experts, industry firsts, and intensely driven excellence.


About Stefan Borgas


Stefan Borgas was Chief Executive Officer of Israel Chemicals and Lonza Group before he moved to RHI Magnesita in 2016. He has been elected President of the World Refractories Association in January 2018 and has taken the association to the next level.


Stefan Borgas is currently CEO of RHI Magnesita, the leading global supplier of high-grade refractory products, systems, and solutions, which are indispensable for industrial high-temperature processes exceeding 1,200°C in a wide range of industries, including steel, cement, non-ferrous metals, and glass. With a vertically integrated value chain, from raw materials to refractory products and full performance-based solutions, RHI Magnesita serves customers in nearly all countries around the world. The Company has a high level of geographic diversification with more than 14,000 employees in 35 main production sites and more than 70 sales offices around the world. RHI Magnesita intends to leverage its global leadership in terms of revenue, scale, product portfolio and diversified geographic presence to target strategically those countries and regions benefitting from more dynamic economic growth prospects. Its shares have a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: RHIM) and are a constituent of the FTSE 250 index.


Photocredit Coverphoto: RHI Magnesita/Reich; HarbisonWalker International