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Ralf Kuhlmann

Senior Advisor


Dr. Ralf Kuhlmann is a member of The Boston Consulting Group’s Energy and Industrial Goods practices. He is also chairman and CEO of Kuhlmann International, a consulting company, and mainly supports BCG in his role as senior advisor.

Ralf joined Deutsche Esso Chemie in 1978 in the chemical raw-materials business. He held several management positions there in operations, logistics, planning, and as leader of the sales and marketing departments in Germany.

In 1986, Ralf transferred to global activities, becoming Deutsche Esso Chemie’s European marketing manager for intermediates, then executive director and vice president for the oxo-alcohol business in the Asia-Pacific region. He oversaw development and implementation of several joint ventures, built an applications center in Singapore, and served as a board member for a joint venture in South Korea.

In 1992 Ralf became director of technology and R&D for Europe, responsible for all European research facilities. He was also appointed a member of the European management team.

In 1996, Ralf became Exxon Chemical Europe’s commercial director for basic chemicals and aromatics. In 2005 he assumed the additional responsibility of being business director and leading the basic chemicals business in Europe. In this function, he was a member of the global management team. Ralf held this expanded position until he retired from the company in 2010.

Areas of Expertise

  • Commercial marketing and sales—commodities and semispecialty chemicals
  • Integration of business and manufacturing—steam crackers and refineries
  • Planning, feedstock, and supply chain optimization; operational efficiencies; and business process redesign
  • Long-term investment and business strategies
  • Technology management and innovation leadership
  • Organization redesign and functional optimization
  • Development and implementation of new entry strategy for specialty chemicals in AP
  • Current futures-market trends—petrochemicals, main chemicals, and derivatives, including C3 and C4 businesses, oxo-alcohols, and butyl rubber
  • Joint venture development, management, and shareholder leadership


  • Dr. Ing., Hahn Meitner Institute for Irradiation and Polymer Chemistry
  • Dipl. Ing., technical chemistry and engineering, Technical University of Berlin
  • Ing., Institute Aachen (fachhochschule)
  • Ing. Grad., technical chemistry (fachhochschule)

Honors and Awards

  • Member, European Industrial Research Management Association
  • President, European Science & Engineering Program Foundation of Exxon Chemical Europe (1994-1996)
  • Chairman, European Aromatics Producers Association and European Lower Olefins Producers Association (CEFIC)
  • Board Member, Association of Petrochemical Producers in Europe (APPE), 2000–2008
  • President, APPE, 2008-2010
  • Board Member, European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) 2005-2010
  • Member of the Energy, HSE ,and Logistics Program Council of CEFIC, 2007-2010
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