Jim Fitterling is the chairman and chief executive officer of Dow, a global materials science company with 2020 sales of approximately $39 billion.
He has played a key role in the Company’s transformation, from lower-margin, commodity businesses to one more deeply focused on higher-growth, consumer demand-driven markets that value innovation – with the goal of creating the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world.
Fitterling was named chief executive officer-elect of Dow in March 2018, prior to becoming CEO in July 2018. He was elected chairman in April 2020. Before becoming CEO, he served as president and chief operating officer of Dow. From September 2017 through March 2019, he also served as chief operating officer for the Materials Science Division of DowDuPont, an $86 billion holding company comprised of The Dow Chemical Company and DuPont, created with the intent to form independent, publicly traded companies in materials science, agriculture and specialty products sectors. On April 1, 2019, Dow separated from DowDuPont.
Fitterling’s 35-year career at Dow began in 1984, two weeks after graduating from University of Missouri – Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Over his first decade with the company, he held a variety of sales, marketing and supply chain positions in the U.S. In 1994, he moved to Asia to serve as commercial director for Dow’s liquid separations business in the region. He returned to the U.S. in 1998, taking over the liquid separations business globally and becoming president and CEO of FilmTec Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. In 2000, he returned to Asia to serve as general manager for Dow Thailand and managing director for the SCG-Dow group of joint venture companies. Over the next four years, he was named CEO of The OPTIMAL Group, an affiliate of Malaysia’s state-owned oil corporation and Dow, and added responsibility for Dow Southeast Asia and Australia regions. In 2006, Fitterling repatriated to the U.S. and was named business vice president for Dow’s polyethylene envelope. Before being named president and chief operating officer in 2016, he held a variety of senior leadership roles in corporate development and business operations.
At his direction, in January 2019, Dow became a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), an initiative to accelerate efforts to drive innovation, provide much-needed resources, and take decisive action to put an end to plastic waste in the environment.
Additionally, he served as the business lead in Dow’s successful launch of its next-generation sustainability goals.
A passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity, Fitterling leads Dow’s drive to diversify its global talent. He actively serves as Executive Sponsor of Dow’s Global African Affinity Network and is widely recognized for his work supporting LGBT non-discrimination and LGBT+ workplace equality. In 2018, he was named #1 LGBT+ Executive on the “OUTstanding in Business” list published annually by INvolve. In 2021, he was inducted into the OUTstanding Hall of Fame. He joined the Out Leadership Global Advisory Board in 2019.
Fitterling serves on the Board of Directors for 3M. He also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers and Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Chemistry Council. In addition, he is a Trustee of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation; on the Board of Directors for Catalyst, the U.S.-China Business Council, Business Roundtable, and the Detroit Economic Club; and a member of the American Heart Association’s CEO Roundtable, the Business Council, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, and the Dean’s Engineering Advisory Council for the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering.
In 2018, Fitterling received the College of Engineering Alumni Award from the Mizzou Alumni Association for professional accomplishments and service to the university. He was honored in 2017 by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) with the “Doing a World of Good” Medal, for his dedication to safety in engineering, his advocacy of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and his professional and personal commitment to mentorship, and was inducted in the Great Lakes Bay Region Junior Achievement Hall of Fame in 2016 for his business and community leadership.
Fitterling lives in Midland, Michigan, USA.