Winthrop-Sears Award

The Winthrop-Sears medal, established in 1970, is presented annually to recognize individuals who, through their entrepreneurial achievement, have contributed to the vitality of the chemical industry and the betterment of humanity. The medal is named in honor of two of America‘s earliest chemical industry entrepreneurs, John Winthrop, Jr., son of the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and considered the first chemist in America, and John Sears, creator of the Massachusetts salt industry. The Winthrop-Sears medal is presented at the Chemists‘ Club‘s annual Egg Nog Gala in the New York Academy of Sciences.

Past Winthrop-Sears medal winners include: William Wulfsohn (Ashland Global Holdings), Heinz Haller (Dow Chemical), Gorge Corbin (Solvay), John Panichella (Solenis), Mario Nappa (Chemours), Scott Power (DuPont), and Jon M. Huntsman (Huntsman Chemical Corporation).

Read more about the Egg Nog Gala here.

2022 Awardee - Dr. Robert Zeller

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures


The Chemists’ Club’s 2022 Winthrop Sears Medal was awarded to Dr. Robert L. Zeller III, Vice President of Technology at Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, a subsidiary of Occidental (Oxy), at its Egg Nog Gala ceremony on Monday, December 12, 2022 at the historic Players Club, NY. 

The prestigious honor recognizes exceptional innovation and entrepreneurship in the sciences field. To select the winner, the 124-year-old Chemists' Club seeks an innovative development that has far reaching commercial success.

Dr. Zeller and the team at Oxy Low Carbon Ventures are advancing cutting-edge, low carbon technologies and business solutions that reduce emissions. This includes Direct Air Capture, a technology that captures atmospheric carbon dioxide and safely and securely sequesters it in geologic formations deep underground or uses it to produce low carbon products. Dr. Zeller manages the organization’s ventures with early-stage clean energy companies to develop and commercialize technologies and approaches that help enable net-zero solutions.

Dr. Zeller’s 30 plus years of experience in research and development, project engineering, manufacturing and corporate leadership has advanced numerous innovations including a key intermediate for the production of next-generation climate-friendly HFO refrigerants. He holds nearly 20 U.S. patents and has been published in scientific journals.

I’m extremely honored and humbled to receive this recognition, which was made possible by the contributions of many, including the entire Oxy Low Carbon Ventures team, said Dr. Robert Zeller, Vice President of Technology at Oxy Low Carbon Ventures. Innovation in the energy industry is required to develop practical solutions that enable industrial scale decarbonization and make an impact on the climate challenge. I’m excited about how advances in chemical engineering and the sciences are transforming how carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies are accelerating our path to a lower carbon future.

His selection is extremely well deserved, said Dr. Roland Stefandl, President of The Chemist’ Club. Since becoming Vice President of Technology at Oxy Low Carbon Ventures in July 2018, Dr. Zeller has advanced a leading-edge technology platform and developed business solutions for an emerging industry that will reduce carbon emissions. These accomplishments highlight how chemistry and the sciences continually innovate to make a better planet.

Rob Zeller joins a select group of distinguished great innovators and entrepreneurs: William Wulfsohn (Ashland Global Holdings), Heinz Haller (Dow Chemical), Gorge Corbin (Solvay), John Panichella (Solenis), Mario Nappa (Chemours), Scott Power (DuPont), and Jon M. Huntsman (Huntsman Chemical Corporation).

2020 Awardee - Linda Rendle

The Clorox Company

Linda Rendle, CEO of The Clorox Company, was awarded the Winthrop-Sears Medal for 2020 by The Chemists' Club, announced today by Dr. Roland Stefandl, president of The Chemists' Club. The Winthrop-Sears Medal is awarded annually to an executive whose leadership has enabled their company to make a major contribution to both the chemical industry and humanity. Award recipients lead their corporation during unique times and find paths to turn what may appear to most as problems into opportunities. Under Rendle‘s leadership, Clorox played an important role during the pandemic as a health and wellness company that provides disinfecting products to support public health around the world. In making the announcement, Dr. Stefandl cited Clorox's achievement in responding to a sudden 500% increase in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. To help meet demand, the Company ran manufacturing plants 24/7, added 10 new external manufacturers, and focused on products that could be made faster and on to store shelves faster. Today the company ships nearly 1 million packages of wipes to stores every day, with expected increased capacity at 1.5 million a day this February.

Extending its commitment to health into the community, Clorox and its Foundation provided more than $25 million in monetary and product donations to support COVID-19 relief and community-building, and pledged an additional $3 million toward racial justice initiatives.

In accepting the medal which will be presented in a virtual event this February, Linda Rendle said I‘m honored to receive this recognition on behalf of The Clorox Company. In a year when people counted on our disinfecting products for their health and wellness, we leaned on our values more than ever to enable us to adapt to unprecedented demand while helping our people and communities.

The Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX) is a leading multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer and professional products with about 8,800 employees worldwide and fiscal year 2020 sales of $6.7 billion. Clorox markets some of the most trusted and recognized consumer brand names, including its namesake bleach and cleaning products; Pine-Sol® cleaners; Liquid-Plumr® clog removers; Poett® home care products; Fresh Step® cat litter; Glad® bags and wraps; Kingsford® charcoal; Hidden Valley® dressings and sauces; Brita® water-filtration products; Burt's Bees® natural personal care products; and RenewLife®, Rainbow Light®, Natural Vitality Calm™, NeoCell® and Stop Aging Now® vitamins, minerals and supplements. The company also markets industry-leading products and technologies for professional customers, including those sold under the CloroxPro™ and Clorox Healthcare® brand names. More than 80% of the company‘s sales are generated from brands that hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in their categories.

Clorox is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation‘s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. The company has been broadly recognized for its corporate responsibility efforts, listed No. 1 on the 2020 Axios Harris Poll 100 reputation rankings and included on the Barron‘s 2020 100 Most Sustainable Companies list and the Human Rights Campaign‘s 2020 Corporate Equality Index, among others. In support of its communities, The Clorox Company and its foundations contributed more than $25 million in combined cash grants, product donations and cause marketing in fiscal year 2020. For more information, visit, including the Good Growth blog, and follow the company on Twitter at @CloroxCo.

2019 Awardee - William Wulfson

Ashland Global Holdings

The Chemists‘ Club president, Dr. Roland Stefandl, awarded Bill Wulfsohn, Ashland‘s chairman and CEO the 2019 Winthrop-Sears Medal for entrepreneurial achievements at the club‘s 122nd annual Eggnog Gala, December 12, 2019 at the New York Academy of Sciences.

The Medal recognizes entrepreneurial achievements in the chemical industry and is named in honor of two of America‘s earliest chemical entrepreneurs, John Winthrop, Jr., considered the nation‘s first chemist, and John Sears, who founded its salt industry.

Bill‘s family, chemists, business leaders, students and Ashland solvers were out in force to celebrate Bill‘s many accomplishments. The event was bitter sweet as Bill retires at the end of the calendar year.

Some of Ashland‘s incredible success stemmed from Bill‘s visionary Blueprint for the Future, Ashland‘s pathway for creating the premier specialty chemicals company. Bill led this work and changed Ashland from a diversified, transactional supplier to an innovations partner that is always solving™.

In brief, Bill has led Ashland to:

  • Create two great, independent companies – Valvoline and Ashland

  • Acquire Pharmachem and Vornia to grow and add value to the company

  • Divest the Composites business and Marl BDO facility the final step to becoming a pure-play specialty chemicals company

  • Create strong shareholder value

  • And so much more

In addition, over Bill‘s tenure Ashland has been recognized with many awards and medals.

At Ashland, safety is our number one priority. In 2018 under Bill‘s leadership, Ashland was named Responsible Care® Company of the Year by the American Chemistry Council. The ACC also Honored Ashland that year with an Award for Outstanding Employee Safety Initiative and, in 2018 EHS Today named Ashland among America‘s Safest Companies.

Ashland‘s winning brand aligns Ashland around a clear sense of purpose. In 2018, Ashland‘s brand transformation was recognized by REBRAND® 100 as a Winner of Distinction among prestigious and impactful global consumer branders such as COTY, Cadillac, Siemens and more.

In 2019, Bill was named as one of the National Safety Council‘s CEO‘s Who Get It. This annual recognition underscored his demonstration and personal commitment to worker safety and health.

Bill led Ashland‘s culture change from a heritage-focused organization to One Ashland which we call The Ashland Way - central to our blueprint and brand promise.

The Ashland Way calls for Ashland‘s Solvers to respect, protect, and advance the people we work with, companies we serve, shareholders who invest in our future, communities we‘re a part of, and planet we share. It includes an aligned, compelling culture, diversity and inclusion, high levels of engagement, and tools to enable and engage the entire organization.

At Ashland, under Bill‘s leadership we are obsessed with discovering and inventing, questioning and solving. We are solvers – it‘s in our DNA.

Under Bill‘s leadership, he has encouraged and supported our global Research and Development team of Solvers to keep exploring and to keep asking why, said Osama Musa, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ashland.

As Bill retires, he would never want us to settle for what we already know. He has encouraged us to never stop believing in the power of ideas and teamwork, and to use our imagination and hard work to succeed. Bill knows that through solving, we can change the world.

Since joining Ashland in 2015, Wulfsohn has led the transformation of the company into an innovative partner that is always solving™ for its specialty chemicals customers in more than 100 countries. Under Wulfsohn‘s leadership, Ashland‘s solvers develop practical, innovative and elegant solutions to complex problems, to advance the competitiveness of their customers across diverse industries. Wulfsohn also sits on the board of directors of PolyOne Corporation. Prior to joining Ashland, he was president and CEO of Carpenter Technology and served on its board of directors. He earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

2018 Awardee - George Corbin


The 2018 Winthrop Sears Medal for Entrepreneurial Achievement has been awarded to Dr. George Corbin, Executive Vice President of Solvay‘s Specialty Polymers Business. The medal, which has been awarded annually since 1970, will be presented to Corbin on Dec. 13, 2018, during The Chemists' Club's 121st annual Egg Nog Gala at the New York Academy of Sciences.

"Dr. Corbin was selected for his outstanding leadership of a team of scientists and engineers that helped to develop sustainable polymer technology for the Solar Impulse, the world's first solar powered aircraft," said Dr. Roland Stefandl, President of The Chemists' Club. The Solar Impulse team succeeded despite widespread skepticism in the global scientific community. The Solar Impulse flew around the world in a series of consecutive flights from 2015-2016 without using any fuel.

Corbin joined Solvay in 2001 and has held several senior level positions prior to being appointed to his current position. George Corbin started his career with Amoco in 1983 in Research & Development for Specialty Polymers, developing what is currently Solvay's Amodel polymer family. In 1990 he assumed the leadership role for the Process Engineering, Catalysis, & Technology Licensing function in Polypropylene Business. In 1994 he transferred back into Specialty Polymers to lead the Sulfone Polymers R&D Team. From 1999-2004 he was the Business Manager for Sulfone Polymers through the ownership transitions to BP and Solvay. In 2004 he returned to the R&D Function as Head of the Advanced Polymers Business to consolidate this new organization.

In 2008 he was appointed to be President of the Solvay Advanced Polymers Global Business which was merged into GBU Specialty Polymers in 2011. At that time, he assumed his current role as Director of Research and Innovation for this new GBU. A US national, George holds Chemical Engineering Degrees from Columbia University and MIT and serves on external advisory Boards at Georgia Tech and MIT.

2017 Awardee - Heinz Haller

The Dow Chemical Company

The 2017 Winthrop-Sears medal has been awarded to Heinz Haller from The Dow Chemical Company by The Chemists' Club  of New York for his entrepreneurial achievement.

Heinz Haller is Executive Vice President of the Dow Chemical Company and President of Dow Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI).

In this role, Haller is responsible for Dow‘s operations and geographic strategies in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. He is also accountable for Olympic Operations. He is a member of Dow‘s Executive Leadership Team.

Haller joined Dow in 1980 as a sales representative in Horgen, Switzerland and developed his career in several marketing and commercial roles across many Dow businesses including Emulsion Polymers, Specialty Chemicals and Chlorinated Solvents.

In 1994, Haller left Dow and joined the mining and chemical distribution company, Plüss-Staufer AG (OMYA), as Managing Director, a position he held for five years before being appointed Chief Executive Officer of Red Bull Sauber AG and Sauber Petronas Engineering AG. In 2002, he moved to Allianz Capital Partners GmbH as one of the company's Managing Directors and remained there for four years until he rejoined Dow.

Haller returned to Dow in 2006 to assume an executive leadership role in charge of strategy development for the Corporation. He was also named Chairman of the Members Committee of Dow AgroSciences. In 2007, he was named Executive Vice President for the Performance Products and Systems Division and Dow AgroSciences. He also took on oversight responsibility for Latin America and the Pacific area. He was named to his present role in August 2012.

Haller is Chairman of the Dow Aksa Board and a member of the board of BioAmber Inc., AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG, South Pole Holding, and the U.S. India Business Council. He also represents Dow on the Board and Executive Committee of the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC).

Haller holds a master's degree in business administration from IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland. Heinz and his wife, Marlis, live in Zurich, Switzerland, and have two adult daughters.

2016 Awardee - John Panichella


December, 2016, The Chemists‘ Club has awarded John Panichella, president and chief executive officer at Solenis with the Winthrop-Sears Medal for Entrepreneurial Achievement.

Panichella was recognized for his successful commitment to building an entrepreneurial leadership platform at multiple large specialty chemical companies. This includes his previous success at Ashland Specialty Ingredients to enhance core technologies with new product investments, adding adjacent technologies, developing infrastructure to support growth in emerging markets and reducing costs in manufacturing operations. At Solenis, he continues to focus on bringing innovative products and platforms to the critical area of water treatment.

The Winthrop-Sears Medal for Entrepreneurial Achievement is presented each December at The Chemists‘ Club annual Egg Nog Party held at the New York Academy of Sciences. The medal was established in 1970 to recognize individuals who, by their entrepreneurial achievement, have contributed to the vitality of the chemical industry and the betterment of humanity. The medal is named in honor of two of America‘s earliest chemical entrepreneurs, John Winthrop, Jr., son of the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and considered the first chemist in America, and John Sears, creator of the Massachusetts salt industry.

At Solenis, I‘m privileged to work with some of the most talented people in the chemical industry, professionals who, each day, take an idea or a customer need and put that need together with a molecule to create a solution, Panichella said. In honoring me today, you honor the innovations and accomplishments of all the people of Solenis.

2015 Awardee - Mario Nappa


The medal was presented to Dr. Nappa at The Chemists' Club's 118th annual Egg Nog dinner on December 10, 2015 at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.

Since originally joining DuPont in 1981, Dr. Nappa has been an inventor on 140 patents and has received numerous medals and awards such as the Bolton-Carothers Award, The Pedersen Medal, the Lavoisier Medal for technical achievement, The Stefanie Kwolek Inventor Award, and an Engineering Excellence award. Dr. Nappa received his B.A. from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Rutgers University. He was also a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago before joining DuPont. He is currently a Chemours Fellow responsible for developing the company's fluorine based R&D product portfolio. (Chemours is a new company created through the spin-off of the DuPont Performance Chemicals businesses.)

Dr. Nappa has an extraordinary track record of chemical inventiveness, problem solving and networking during his 34 year career at DuPont and now Chemours. His innovations have been instrumental in many improvements in refrigerants science, including major advances in sustainability.

Most notably, Dr. Nappa was the lead chemist in process development for the refrigerant, HFO1234yf, and foam expansion agent, HFO-1336mzz(Z). These products have since been commercialized by Chemours as Opteon™ refrigerants and Formacel™ 1100 foam expansion agents, and are considered critical to their respective industries due to the increasing regulation of global warming potential properties. In total, these products are projected to reduce greenhouse gas content of refrigerants by some 245 million tons CO2 equivalent worldwide by 2025, while also providing the optimal balance of performance, environmental sustainability, safety and cost.

Dr. Nappa also has contributed to technology packages for commercialization and has developed many approaches for process optimization, including advanced density functional theory molecular orbital calculations to understand the fundamental thermodynamics and reaction kinetics. He has been a key person in the successful entrepreneurial development of many of the major fluorochemical processes that have been commercialized in the last 20 years. Early in his career, Dr. Nappa played a role in the development of at least seven different hydrofluorocarbons introduced as a result of the phase-out of CFCs in the mid-1990s. In addition to new molecule development, Dr. Nappa has participated in commercialization teams and is often a key resource in troubleshooting commercial catalyst manufacturing problems for the majority of fluorochemical products offered by Chemours.

As a company, Chemours is dedicated to helping create a more colorful, capable and cleaner world through the power of chemistry said Thierry F.J. Vanlancker, president of Chemours Fluoroproducts. Dr. Nappa‘s achievements throughout his career exemplify these values, as he has been a driving force in the transformation of the Chemours product portfolio to a suite of environmentally sustainable products.

About Chemours- The Chemours Company helps create a colorful, capable and cleaner world through the power of chemistry. Chemours is a global leader in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, providing its customers with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise, and chemistry-based innovations. Chemours ingredients are found in plastics and coatings, refrigeration and air conditioning, mining and oil refining operations and general industrial manufacturing. Our flagship products include prominent brands such as Teflon™, Ti-Pure™, Krytox™ Viton™, Opteon™ and Nafion™. Chemours has approximately 9,000 employees across 37 manufacturing sites serving more than 5,000 customers in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed on the NYSE under the symbol CC. For more information, please visit or follow Chemours on Twitter at @chemours.

Additional Recipients

Scott Power (DuPont, 2014)

Joel S. Marcus (Alexandria Real Estate Equities, 2013)

Peter McCausland (Airgas, 2010)

Zsolt Rumy (Zoltek, 2009)

Haldor Haldor Topsøe (Haldor Topsøe, 2008)

Phillip A. Sharp (Biogen, 2007)

Sol J. Barer (Celgene, 2006)

Herbert W. Boyer (Genentech, 2005)

George Rosenkranz and Alejandro Zaffaroni (Syntex, 2004)

Robert W. Gore (Gore-Tex, 2003)

James A. Mack (Cambrex, 2002)

John W. Johnstone Jr. (Olin, 1996)

Harold A. Sorgenti (ARCO, 1995)

Jon M. Huntsman (Huntsman Chemical Corp., 1994)

Arthur Mendolia and Cyril Baldwin (Cambrex, 1990)

D. George Harris (North America Salt, 1990)

Gordon A. Cain (Petro-Tex, 1988)

Paul M. Cook (Raychem, 1986)

Charles and Lucia Shipley (Shipley Company, 1984)

John T. Files (Merichem, 1982)

Alfred R. Bader (Aldrich Chemical, 1980)

Ralph Landau (Scientific Design Company, 1977)