December 18, 2020: Microporous announced John Reeves had been hired as CEO on December 8 in a sudden move that sees Jean Luc Koch, who has headed up the firm since it became independent in 2013, resigning from the position with immediate effect, reportedly for personal reasons.
“We are pleased to announce that we have appointed John Reeves as Microporous’ new CEO, effective immediately,” the company said. “John brings years of experience to the company in a range of industries, including engineered materials, chemicals and construction products.
“Additionally, John has over a dozen years of executive leadership experience at private equity-owned businesses, driving growth in revenue and enterprise value.”
Reeves’s background is material science, with a bachelor’s degree in textile and industrial engineering. Much of his career has been with material science, working for Lincoln Industries in coated fabrics, and the German life science firm Hoechst Celanese on a variety of polyesters.
Out of a joint venture with Hoechst and the BBA Group in 1997, Reeves grew AQF Technologies, a filtration media start-up, into a dominant gas-phase filtration technology industry. By 2000 the business was expanding at a 35% annual growth rate with Reeves at the helm as CEO and president.
BBA retained Reeves in various VP posts to lead the strategy for the development of the firm as vice president of engineered materials.
It was when he joined building materials firm IPS as president of Structural Adhesives in 2008 that he was first introduced to private equity.
“This was in high-end adhesives and in 10 years the company grew by about 850%,” he told BESB. “Some 60% was organic, 40% was acquisitions. So I’m a technology material science kind of guy that’s fortunately figured out how to do that well for private equity-sponsored businesses.
“When this opportunity with Microporous came along — with a lot of the raw materials and processes similar to what I’m used to — it seemed a good fit.”
Reeves admits that there’s a lot of learning to do with regard to the lead-acid battery business, but “the notion of developing innovative products and driving a business by pleasing customers and offering them materials that can help move their business forward is similar to what I’ve done in the past,” he says.
“I’ve only been here a couple of weeks and it’s interesting how our customers are willing to work with us on different projects. It’s a very collaborative industry, which I’ve found delightful. There’s a determination in the industry to combat challenges and a desire to offer higher quality, longer life products.”
As far as the future for Microporous goes, Reeves says it’s too early to say.
“We have the ability to grow in lots of different ways,” he says. “Our sponsors have been very dedicated to Microporous and spent a tremendous amount of capital investing in the business.”
Claudia Lorenzini, vice president sales and marketing, thanked outgoing Jean Luc Koch and said he had built Microporous into what it is today.
“Our company has thrived since its re-emergence as an independent company seven years ago and has been investing heavily in equipment, processes and people to assure that it is well positioned to continue to support our customers and our industry,” she said.
“We are excited about the future and are extremely confident that John will have the same level of enthusiasm to help Microporous’ customers to achieve continued success and grow our business together.”