AIChE Appoints Darlene S. Schuster as New CEO and Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the AIChE has announced that Darlene S. Schuster, PhD, AIChE’s former Chief of Technical Operations, Membership, and Business Development, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Institute. An experienced business leader, Schuster became CEO and Executive Director effective April 25, 2022. Schuster succeeds June C. Wispelwey, who retired in April 2022 as AIChE’s Executive Director and CEO after more than 13 years in that role.

In making the announcement, Christine Grant, AIChE’s 2022 President and head of the executive search committee, said, “The Board and I are delighted that Darlene will serve as AIChE’s next CEO and Executive Director. She has a deep knowledge of AIChE, and her background as a chemicals industry leader from a corporate, academic, and nonprofit perspective, as well as her deep understanding of the dynamic of the chemical engineering professional, will be an asset to the continued growth of AIChE.”

Grant noted Schuster’s track record of developing and executing strategies to structure and achieve significant, sustainable growth. “Darlene personifies the values and integrity that are essential as the next leader of AIChE,” said Grant. She added, “I want to also express my special thanks to the search committee for their commitment and hard work in this process.”

June Wispelwey said, “I am confident that Darlene possesses the strategic and leadership skills necessary to help AIChE fulfill its commitment as an integrated community of chemical and related engineers, united in our determination to meet society’s challenges as the global leader of the profession.”  

In accepting the appointment, Schuster said, “I am excited by this opportunity to lead AIChE — an organization that has meant so much to me over the course of my career — as we expand our many points of excellence across the chemical engineering profession, inclusive of all.” Schuster added, “In our ever-changing world, AIChE is pleased to be the global home of chemical engineers, as we continue to provide career support and lifelong learning opportunities for the broad engineering community, and continue to serve the chemical engineering profession.”

Dr. Schuster received her BS from West Virginia University, her MS from the University of Pittsburgh, and her PhD from West Virginia University — all in chemical engineering. She started her engineering career working in the oil fields at Gulf Oil. Later, as a Bucknell University Clare Boothe Luce Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering, she was one of 50 inaugural female science and engineering faculty who worked to promote women’s entry into the study and teaching of engineering and science. Schuster is also an entrepreneur, and founded a consulting and distribution company specializing in medtech and biotech industry sectors. Over the past twenty years, Schuster has served AIChE as a volunteer, consultant, and employee — most recently leading AIChE’s publications, membership, meetings, business development, education, and technical entities as Chief of Technical Operations.