2009-01-29 / Front Page

For mer Resident Named DCED Head

George Cornelius selected by Rendell administration to serve as secretary of DCED
STAFF REPORT

Cornelius Cornelius A former Fulton County resident was handpicked by the Gov. Ed Rendell administration last

week to serve in the capacity of secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development. George Cornelius was

chosen, according to Rendell in a special announcement last Thursday, based on his tenure with Arkema, a global diversified chemical company dealing in vinyl, industrial and performance products.

Cornelius, who grew up in Fulton and neighboring Huntingdon County, had served with Arkema as well as its parent company, for a period of almost 13 years. During that time, Cornelius led the company as chief executive officer (CEO) and previously as vice president and head legal counsel.

Arkema, which is based in Philadelphia, serves a variety of industries, including agricultural, chemical, automotive, construction and water treatment. Products manufactured by Arkema are used in the production of personal hygiene and beauty products, paper goods, athletic apparel and electronics, although its best-known creation is likely to be Plexiglas.

The company is a subsidiary of Arkema SA of Colombe, France, that touts itself as the country's top producer of chemicals. The company has a total of 15,200 employees spanning 40 countries.

"When George took the helm of Arkema, he applied a strong focus on outcomes and turned the chemical company into a competitive player in the Americas," said Rendell in his announcement. "George's experience and track record as a CEO is stellar. While the improved financial condition of the company is evidence of George's talent, he understood that in order for the bottom line to grow, the company had to function better at all levels."

Cornelius was also touted by the governor as being a civic leader through his active involvement with the United Way and an experienced manager. "Given George's experience leading a multi-national organization and facilitating agreements in other countries, he's a terrific fit to build upon our international trade efforts - increasing exports while attracting more cross-border investments to our state. DCED's work has established Pennsylvania as a major player in the global marketplace with foreign companies investing approximately $484 million here over the past three years with plans to create 4,900 jobs," added Rendell.

Prior to working for Arkema, Cornelius was a partner with Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, a law firm with local ties headquartered in Pittsburgh. Cornelius is a graduate of Penn State University and Dickinson School of Law. He and his wife reside in Chester County. They have two sons.

"As a lifelong Pennsylvanian who has worked and been involved in businesses across the state, and who cares deeply about the future of this great commonwealth and its people, I am excited about the opportunity to help strengthen the state's competitiveness and facilitate the generation of the 21st century jobs," Cornelius stated following his selection. "Pennsylvania is well positioned to succeed in the hypercompetitive global marketplace, but it must be proactive if it is to be successful in preserving and attracting well-paying jobs."

Once confirmed by the state Senate, Cornelius will succeed Dennis Yablonsky.

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