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Partner Event - ATD Philadelphia Leadership and OD SIG - "Successful Culture Integration during an M&A: Creating a Win-Win Mindset

  • 23 Apr 2019
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Judge Group, 151 S. Warner Road, Suite 100, Wayne, PA 19087

Program Description:

With mergers and acquisitions at an all-time high in the US, it’s highly likely that you have been or will be involved in a merger or acquisition at some point in your career. Despite the best efforts to derive value from mergers, according to KPMG’s 2018 biannual report on this topic, less than a third of mergers in North America derive any value from the transaction. Much of the problem comes down to the failure to address cultural differences in the organizations being merged.

In this session, you will learn how Houghton International and Quaker Chemical are defying the odds of being yet another usual M&A story by following a road map for addressing the potential culture clashes that come from merging two long-time competitors with a combined 250-year history. What makes this an interesting “live” case study is the strong commitment of both companies, from the inception of the deal, to mitigate the hurdles created by the typical win-lose paradigm in a merger or acquisition. The strong commitment of the newly formed company CEO created the high-level sponsorship necessary for the two HR leaders to form the new company culture that is based on a win-win mindset; that is, a 'combination' mindset instead of a traditional acquisition mindset.

Kym Johnson, CHRO for Houghton and Ron Ettinger, VP HR for Quaker Chemical will discuss their early strategic partnership and shared commitment to create this win-win orientation. Both believe that this orientation is imperative to setting the foundation for a quick and successful cultural integration. Note: This is a work in progress and thus rich with lessons learned.

Ron and Kym will discuss their experiences with:

  • The early days – setting this paradigm in place
  • Building leadership commitment
  • Unexpected struggles and early wins
  • Champions of equality – ensuring the fair distribution of power; impact on establishing the new culture
  • Herding cats – creating alignment before the new company is formed

Session structure:

This highly interactive session will be a moderated dialogue between these two leaders. Mary Haskins (Strategy Convergence Consulting, LLC) will be the moderator. You are invited to bring your most challenging questions about addressing the cultural aspects of M&As.


For more information or to register, click HERE


Kym Johnson is SVP, Global Human Resources for Houghton International. She joined Houghton International as Chief Human Resources Officer on June 1, 2015. Ms. Johnson brings over 25 years of experience in the chemical industry and 20+ years of global human resources leadership to the Houghton executive team. Prior to joining Houghton, Kym served as VP, Human Resources & CHRO of FMC Corporation, a global chemical company with over $4 billion in sales and more than 6,000 global employees. She began her career as a chemist at FMC and advanced through successive human resources roles, including the leadership of HR for the Asia Pacific region in Shanghai. She returned to the U.S. to lead global talent management and global human resources for FMC. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Delaware and her master’s degree in human resources management from Rutgers University.

Ron Ettinger is VP, Human Resources and an officer of Quaker Chemical Corporation, a publicly traded specialty chemical company. Prior to this Ron has over thirty years’ experience in the areas of Clinical Psychology, Organization Development and Talent Management specializing in Organization and Culture Change. Ron’s formal training was in clinical psychology which has created the underpinnings of his approach to working with executives and high potential leadership.

Prior to Ron’s tenure as an HR Executive he spent most of this career working in both public and private corporations holding various management positions in the areas of management, executive and organization development. He has experience as both an internal and external coach working with established and emerging leaders in an assortment of industries. Prior to this he spent over a decade as an Individual and Family therapist. His current work integrates clinical methodologies into the dynamic corporate context.

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