Post-Leever, Who Will Pull Platform’s Levers?

Not sure whom Platform Specialty Products has in mind to replace Dan Leever, but it’s not going to be an easy gig.

Leever is a second-generation PCB guy whose father, Harold, was MacDermid’s first R&D chemist and eventually led a group of employees who purchased the firm from its founder in 1959. Dan joined the firm in 1982, and became CEO in 1990. He took it private in 2007, returned the firm to profitability, then was prepared to take in public again in 2011 before scrapping the IPO and selling to Platinum.

Leever was promptly put in charge of Platinum and, since then, has been on an acquisition streak, gobbling up OMG’s printed circuit chemistry unit and Alent, which includes competitor Enthone plus solder materials maker Alpha.

Leever knows the quirks of the PCB industry through and through, having endured three major downturns and the near-complete geographical transformation of the market. His decision to retire leaves Platform in a bit of a pickle, faced with absorbing and integrating the pending acquisitions, plus turning around a debt-laded balance sheet.

Whomever they bring in — and Leever is said to be having a hand in picking his replacement — will have a company capable of best-in-class  product development but will face scrutiny from investors and analysts over the company’s finances for some time to come.

OMG and MacDermid? OMG!

Not nearly enough attention is being paid to the pending acquisition of OMG’s electronic chemicals business by MacDermid’s parent company.

This deal will throw even more market share to MacDermid, and the big question becomes how will smaller fabs (i.e., the vast majority of the North American and European markets) handle it? Many of them already use one or the other, and will doubtlessly be affected by the merger. I can’t imagine they are looking forward to this.