Washington, D.C. — Chemonics President Tony Teele today, December 10, 2001 announced a succession plan naming Executive Vice President Ashraf Rizk as CEO and outlined a reorganization of the firm around its “core business.”
Rizk, who currently serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer, will take over as president and CEO on April 1, 2002. Teele will assume chairmanship of Chemonics’ Board of Directors, replacing current chairman Scott Spangler, who will remain a board member and majority shareholder.
Teele said he and Rizk had run the company in partnership for many years with a shared vision of its strategic direction. “I have full confidence in Ashraf,” Teele said. “He knows our business extremely well and has the right mix of skills to lead Chemonics toward continued excellence and growth.”
Teele also outlined a reorganization plan that “renews our focus on our principal client” — the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) — and emphasizes Chemonics’ regional structure.
Rizk, who helped design the plan, said the reorganization “will make us more responsive to foreign policy requirements and priorities.” He added that, as president, he intends to “build on our two main strengths: our technical know-how and understanding of the countries where we work. A geographic structure will help us place the right talent and energy where they are needed most.”
Reverting to the firm’s original structure, adopted in 1988, will require halting investments in “non-core” areas, Teele said, which will lead to the layoff of a dozen people out of a staff of about 800. However, the firm will maintain investments in expanding areas that correspond to USAID’s development priorities, including health, disaster relief, and private sector initiatives.
Teele also announced the departure of Candace Conrad, senior vice president for the Africa/Asia division, effective January 31. Conrad, who has been with Chemonics for 26 years, told staff she was leaving to care for her disabled mother. “Candy has played a significant part in Chemonics’ success,” Teele said. “We will miss her.”
With the reorganization, the Africa/Asia division will split, creating new stand-alone divisions led by senior vice president Doug Tinsler for Asia and senior project manager John Strattner for Africa.
Other personnel changes include the promotion of Ghassan F. Nakad, senior vice president for financial projects, to chief financial officer once Rizk assumes his role as president. Nakad has been with the firm since 1984.
Rizk said he was excited about the transition: “We’re a dynamic company that has successfully managed change in the past, and I’m confident we can do it again.” He added that the firm will “benefit from the wisdom of its founding father,” Teele, who will remain with Chemonics full-time for at least two years as chairman of the board.
Teele founded Chemonics in 1975. Since then, the firm has grown from a small agricultural consultancy into an industry leader with a broad and diverse technical range, a global portfolio, and sales of more than $150 million in 2001. Teele began his career at the U.S. State Department, then worked as an international development consultant, managing projects in Afghanistan, Liberia, Thailand, and Turkey.
Rizk, who will succeed him as president, has been with the firm since 1982, first leading its Middle East and Asia division, then serving as chief of party of a complex rural infrastructure development project in Egypt. In 1991, Rizk became chief financial officer and executive vice president for finance and administration. One of three certified contract negotiators at Chemonics, he has led corporate financial management of a growing portfolio, streamlined accounting and information systems, and helped set the firm’s strategic priorities.