Senior Vice President and Head of Global Product Management for Polyurethanes
Senior Vice President and Head of Global Product Management for Polyurethanes, Carsten Weißleder has been with Covestro and Bayer for more than 20 years. He tells us about his top priorities, the trends he’s keeping an eye on, and the ‘unique’ culture at Covestro that makes work life worthwhile.
Carsten, let’s start with your role – what does it involve?
Global Product Management is the link between production and sales organization. We make sure the correct MDI, TDI and PET volumes are margin optimized available exactly as our customers need: in the right place at the right time.
This includes strategic asset planning, buying, selling and swapping materials with competitors if we are short – or long – as well as inventory management and fixing short-term supply issues.
What is your top priority?
For me, ensuring our short and long-term product supply is crucial. I want to make sure we really understand the demand from our customers and position Covestro and Polyurethanes as the right partner to meet that demand.
What trends are currently affecting the PU industry?
There is more of a push for materials that will support new technological requirements around electric and autonomous vehicle platforms. Polyurethane materials are becoming a real presence in this area, enabling lighter vehicles with the same performance.
As populations grow, more homes are required. More homes and commercial buildings with tighter energy efficiency requirements, and thus more efficient insulation, are being constructed and those homes and buildings also require day-to-day necessities. Beds and furniture are needed to fill out spaces. Appliances like refrigerators and freezers are becoming increasingly connected, with inbuilt computers and screens, and they require better polyurethane formulations to provide high-performing insulation.
What innovations distinguish Covestro from other MDI competitors, and why is Covestro in a leading cost position for MDI supply?
We are building a 500 kiloton MDI unit, which will put us in a leading position in terms of costs, energy efficiency and reliability. At the same time, we’re consolidating a smaller, less competitive unit, which gives us an even better overall costs position.
Is the increase in MDI demand matched in other raw materials?
If we plan for an investment we’ll also look into the requirements for the MDI precursors such as benzene, nitric acid, chlorine, carbon monoxide, or energy. For each we make an assessment to see if it’s more beneficial to make it ourselves or to buy it from the market.
And finally, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
I like my job, I like the people I meet every day and I like the culture here. I think our mission to “make the world a brighter place” combined with our ambition to be Colorful, Curious and Courageous creates a unique environment.