Richard Schloesser, president and CEO of Toray Plastics America and adviser to the Toray Industries' board of directors, has retired and is succeeded by Michael Brandmeier, effective on Tuesday. Schloesser joined the company in 1990 and had been president and CEO since 2008. Brandmeier most recently served the company as executive VP and COO. He will continue to be a member of the Board of Directors. The two have worked side by side at Toray for nearly two decades.
"I have been extremely fortunate to be able to serve among many extraordinary people. I'm very proud of what we accomplished together," Schloesser said. "As I leave Toray, I know it is in excellent hands with Mike. He's done an outstanding job during his 19-year tenure with Toray and I am confident that he is the right person to lead Toray into the next stage of the company's journey to even greater value."
In 2008, Schloesser was the first American to achieve the highest ranking position at Toray Plastics, that of president and CEO, and assume total management of the company, including the Torayfan Division (PP), Lumirror Division (PET), and Toraypef Division (polyolefin foam) and all its supporting functions. At that time, he also oversaw the company's expansion of its packaging film business in Eastern and Western Europe.
In 2011, he realized his dream of utilizing solar energy on Toray's 70-acre campus, guiding the company to create a three-acre solar farm, the largest such undertaking in Rhode Island. More recently he took action to build Toray's second cogeneration facility, a $23 million project that will be commissioned this month; it will ultimately take Toray off the grid and prevent the kind of electrical-power outages that can occur with conventional power plants. Back in 2004, when Schloesser was Toray's general manager and long before the "triple bottom line" was a serious consideration among businesses, he facilitated a comprehensive sustainability initiative that has led to zero landfill and the annual saving of 29 million gallons of water and the recycling of285 tons of wood, 152 tons of metal, 59 tons of cardboard, and 46 tons of paper, bottles and cans.
Keenly aware of the importance of fostering higher education and aspiring engineers, Schloesser was the driving force in strengthening Toray's relationship with the University of Rhode Island (URI) and its College of Engineering. Under his direction, the company has contributed nearly $2.3 million in gifts, primarily supporting the Toray Plastics America Engineering Fellowship and the Toray Plastics America Scholarship for undergraduate students. The company also provides internships and sponsors special design projects for students to pursue during their senior year.
In 2010, Schloesser secured a $1 million endowment for the creation of the Toray Plastics America Graduate Engineering Fellowship. Most recently, he was responsible for Toray's pledge of $2 million toward the university's proposed new College of Engineering. The pledge is contingent on the passage of a bond referendum by Rhode Island voters in November. In 2013, URI awarded Schloesser its Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of all his efforts to support the university and its students.
Schloesser joined Toray Plastics America in 1990 as sales and marketing manager of the Torayfan division. He rose through the ranks to the positions of VP of sales and marketing, senior VP of sales and marketing, executive VP, president and COO, and then president and CEO. Before joining Toray, Schloesser was with ExxonMobil.
Leading the company into the future
With nearly two decades of experience at Toray Plastics, Michael Brandmeier is now responsible for guiding the company and charting its path to the future. His journey to the position of Ppesident and CEO of Toray Plastics America began 34 years ago, when he launched his career in the plastic film industry at Mobil Chemical. In 1995, he arrived at Toray as director of sales for the Torayfan division, eventually rising to the positions of senior director of sales and then VP of sales and marketing. In 2009, he was named senior VP and general manager of the TorayfanDivision. In 2013, he was promoted to the position of executive VP and COO and assumed responsibility for the company's three divisions - Torayfan, Lumirror and Toraypef.