John W. Jex
John Jex is the Director and Principal Consultant of Jex Business Services. John has worked in the chemical industry since 1991, specializing in chemicals for the oil & gas industry. The oilfield chemicals market is comprised of front-line service company participants that specialize in the formulation and field application of products, and chemical manufacturers that focus on the development and production of materials and intermediates for use by the service companies. John has worked on both sides of this market, and has held senior executive roles in multinationals including Clariant and BASF, as well as smaller independent companies.
He has worked around the world in a variety of global and regional roles, and has lived for extended periods in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe.
With an education in Applied Chemistry, he began his career in R&D before moving into Technical Service, Regional management, Sales leadership and then to broader General Management and Commercial Director roles.
What I Do
Oilfield Chemicals Specialist
Chair of Board of Trustees and Non-Executive Director at Chorus Education Trust (part time)
(Sheffield, UK, 2020 – present, Chair since June 2022)
◊ Chair of Board responsible for oversight and governance of a multi-academy education trust ◊ Provide input to strategy development and execution ◊ Scrutiny of financial reporting and planning to ensure proper use of public funds ◊ Hiring of senior executive team, holding leadership team accountable for performance against objectives and educational outcomes for students ◊
Chorus Education Trust is a fast-growing education trust, managing four schools in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, and the South Yorkshire Teaching Hub, providing teacher education from initial and early-career teacher training to senior management development.
Senior Partner – Global Search Practice at Chemical Search International (freelance)
(Sheffield, UK, 2021 – present)
◊ Conduct end-to-end executive search and talent acquisition assignments in the chemical industry ◊ Extensive global industry network ◊ Global oilfield chemicals market expert ◊
Chemical Search International specialise exclusively in retained executive search, team recruitment, talent acquisition and career development services for the global chemicals and related sectors.
Commercial Director at Seal For Life Industries
(Sheffield, UK, 2019 – 2020)
◊ Led global sales, marketing and technology functions during a period of rapid growth and change ◊ Developed organisational structure of marketing and technology functions to support strategic growth ambitions ◊ Developed processes for review of sales pipeline to maximise win rates ◊ Reviewed strategy, conducting gap analysis on value proposition to market ◊
Seal For Life Industries is a private equity-owned manufacturer and supplier of coating and corrosion protection technologies for the pipeline and critical infrastructure markets.
General Manager and Head of Oil Services North Sea at Clariant
(Aberdeen, UK, 2016 – 2019)
◊ Led development and execution of new strategy for North Sea business ◊ Restructured and combined UK and Scandinavia organisations into a single unit ◊ Grew sales by 6% CAGR in stagnant, declining market ◊ Improved net profitability from 12% to 19% ◊ Board Member of UK and Norway legal entities, accountable for P&L of a $70m business, responsible for all commercial, operational and technical service functions ◊
Clariant is a multinational service company and manufacturer providing production chemicals and associated services to oil & gas producers including majors, independents and state-owned oil companies.
Sales Director Eastern Hemisphere, Oilfield Solutions at BASF
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2013 – 2016)
◊ Achieved 20% sales growth across the Eastern Hemisphere business in first two years ◊ Maintained business with slight revenue growth and stronger margin growth during major market downturn ◊ Responsible for regional sales & marketing activity across EMEA and Asia Pacific ◊ Developed team structure to achieve strategic and financial targets ◊ Member of global leadership team executing long term business strategy and mid-term operational planning ◊
BASF is a large multinational chemical manufacturer, supplying chemicals to a wide range of industries. The Oilfield Solutions business provides chemistry and raw materials to oilfield service companies including Halliburton, Schlumberger, ChampionX, Baker Hughes and Clariant.
General Manager at Sichem
(Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2009 – 2013)
◊ Turned around profitability from break even to 12% within first 6 months ◊ Grew sales by 45% over 3 years ◊ Restructured organisation to position the company for future growth ◊ Developed mid-term strategic plan for growth and new market entry, including upgrade of production capabilities ◊
Sichem is a privately-owned manufacturer of chemicals and intermediates used in oil production, drilling and stimulation as well as industrial & home care applications.
Various roles at Clariant (formerly TR Oil Services)
(Muscat, Oman ◊ Kuwait ◊ Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates ◊ Shekou, China ◊ Jakarta, Indonesia ◊ Aberdeen, UK ◊ Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 1994 – 2009)
I joined as Sales & Service Engineer working in desert oilfields in Oman, and progressed through roles as District Manager, Marketing Manager, Regional Manager and Business Unit Head for Middle East & Africa. In my final role I successfully ran and restructured a $50m business, growing sales and maintaining profitability during a period of rapid material cost inflation. Other achievements during my 15 years included:
◊ Grew Middle East sales from $6m to $25m over 4 years, improving profitability from break even to 14% ◊ Grew sales in Asia by 25% over 2 years ◊ Established operations in China from scratch and developed first ongoing sales ◊ Established and worked with a range of local distribution channels and agency representation across Middle East and Asia ◊
Clariant is a multinational manufacturer providing oilfield production chemicals and services to oil & gas producers including majors, independents and state-owned oil companies. I originally joined TR Oil Services, a subsidiary of Hoechst, which merged it’s specialty chemicals business with Clariant in 1997.
R&D Chemist at National Starch & Chemical
(Braunston, Northamptonshire, UK, 1991 – 1994)
◊ Conducted lab-based R&D projects developing products and applications for water-soluble polyacrylate chemistry ◊ Participated in collaborative technical projects with customers ◊ Supported sales team with technical presentations and customer interactions ◊ Part of team which brought several new products successfully to market ◊
National Starch & Chemical’s speciality polymers business is now part of Nouryon. The business manufactures polymer additives for the detergent, home and personal care, water treatment, oilfield and other industrial markets.