Change in Leadership for Ridgeville Industry


15, 2015
Lindsey Culley
Development & Marketing Manager

(843) 875-9109 or (843) 259-4778 

Change in Leadership at
Showa Denko Carbon, Inc.

Summerville, S.C. — On December 31,
2015, Robert “Bob” Whitten, will step down as President and CEO of Showa Denko
Carbon, Inc. Whitten acquired this position in April of 2005, leading a major
expansion in Dorchester County, of which is near completion. He will relocate
to Tokyo, Japan and continue to serve as a Corporate Officer of SDKK, the
parent company of SDKC. He will also join SDKK’s management committee, a
decision-making body, and serve as an assistant to the President and CEO of
SDKK in charge of global marketing. “Negative market forces brought about
largely by excessive steel exports from China are causing severe stress in the
steel and graphite electrode industries. This in turn has resulted in very challenging
business conditions for SDKC.  In
response, we are doing all we can to improve our cost structure.”- Whitten

of January 1, 2015, Carl D. Kolts will take the position of President & CEO
at SDKC, leaving his current position as Sr. Vice President of Sales and
Marketing. Carl joined SDKC in December 2013, with
over 30 years of experience in the graphite electrode (GE) business in various sales
and operations roles. Kolts also helped with the commercial launch of VEXTEC
Corporation, an early stage engineering and software company specializing in
predictive analytics prior to joining SDKC. Kolts says, “Showa Denko has been
very successful over the last ten years under Bob Whitten’s leadership. On
behalf of all our colleagues I thank him for his tireless effort and wish him
continued success in his new position.”

Whitten says, “I hope that most of the difficult
aspects of our cost reduction program will have been accomplished before my
successor assumes his duties. It may take some time, but we are confident that Carl
Kolts will lead the company to renewed prosperity.  Fortunately, we expect the leadership change
at SDKC to be seamless.  Our new CEO has
many years of graphite electrode business experience and he is a highly capable
senior executive. Carl is also interested in continuing our tradition of active
community service.”

stated “These are challenging times for SDKC. To manage through these
conditions we will have to drive operational costs down throughout the
organization. While Showa Denko has a good cost structure today, we must achieve
further productivity improvements to drive our operational excellence to the
next level. While the next few years will be challenging, we have a strong,
dedicated team at Showa Denko Carbon and I am looking forward to helping us
continue to be a successful company and good corporate citizen within the local


Showa Denko Carbon Inc.

Showa Denko Carbon,
Inc. operates a fully-integrated graphite manufacturing plant
near Ridgeville, South Carolina. The company is part of the Inorganics
Sector of Japan-based Showa Denko KK, one of Japan’s leading chemical
companies operating in five major segments including petrochemicals, chemicals,
electronics, inorganics and aluminum. Along with its sister plant in Omachi,
Japan, Showa Denko Carbon, Inc. is a principal supplier of graphite electrodes
to the global electric arc furnace steel industry. For more information about
the company, please visit