ExxonMobil’s Karen McKee: An Inspirational Leader and Catalyst for Change

July 7, 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • Karen McKee, President of ExxonMobil Product Solutions, has been named the 2023 ICIS CEO of the Year for her exceptional achievements.
  • McKee’s leadership has led to remarkable improvements in profitability, environmental sustainability, innovation, and successful mergers and acquisitions.
  • Under her guidance, ExxonMobil has made significant strides in chemical recycling, carbon footprint reduction, and investments in hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.
  • McKee’s contributions include the consolidation of ExxonMobil’s downstream and chemicals operations, the expansion of production capacity, and key roles in industry trade associations.
  • As a passionate advocate for sustainability and community involvement, McKee’s leadership inspires the next generation of talent in the chemicals industry.


ExxonMobil, one of the world’s leading energy and chemical companies, has captured industry-wide recognition with its President, Karen McKee, being honored as the 2023 ICIS CEO of the Year. This prestigious award acknowledges McKee’s outstanding achievements and transformative leadership within the chemical industry. Through her strategic vision and commitment to innovation and sustainability, McKee has propelled ExxonMobil to new heights. Let’s delve into her remarkable accomplishments and the company’s journey under her guidance.

Driving Success through Transformational Leadership:

McKee’s leadership has been instrumental in driving ExxonMobil’s success in various areas. Recognizing the need for integration and scale, she oversaw the successful combination of ExxonMobil’s downstream and chemicals operations into a single Product Solutions business in 2022. This consolidation improved effectiveness and customer service, contributing to the company’s growth and profitability.

Additionally, McKee played a pivotal role in expanding production capacity by leading the successful start-up of a new polypropylene production unit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, doubling the site’s polypropylene capacity to 900,000 tonnes per year. Furthermore, the Beaumont, Texas refinery expansion, spearheaded by McKee, added another 250,000 barrels per day of crude distillation capacity to the market.

McKee’s exceptional leadership extends beyond ExxonMobil’s operations. She has actively taken up key roles in major chemical industry trade associations, including serving as Board Chair of the Executive Committee and Chemical Management Committee at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Furthermore, McKee’s dedication led her to become the Board Chair of the ACC’s Board of Directors and President of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) in 2023.

A Commitment to Sustainability and Innovation:

ExxonMobil, under McKee’s leadership, has shown an unwavering commitment to sustainability and innovation. The company has been at the forefront of chemical recycling of plastics at scale, aiming to address the pressing issue of plastic waste in our environment. By leading the advancement of this technology, ExxonMobil is driving positive change in the industry.

Moreover, McKee recognizes the importance of reducing the carbon footprint associated with chemicals and plastics. ExxonMobil has made significant investments in hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, aiming to decarbonize its operations and support other companies in their decarbonization efforts. These bold steps towards a more sustainable future reflect McKee’s visionary approach and her dedication to shaping the industry’s environmental impact.

Recognition and Industry Acclaim:

The ICIS CEO of the Year Award is a highly esteemed accolade in the chemical industry, bestowed upon exceptional leaders who drive positive change. Commenting on the recognition, Karen McKee expressed her gratitude, stating, “This award reflects the commitment and ingenuity of our ExxonMobil team, who are transforming how we work together to better serve our customers with needed energy and chemical products while improving upon industry-leading safety and environmental performance.”

Jeff Skelton, CEO of ICIS, praised McKee’s leadership, stating, “ExxonMobil’s Karen McKee is a dedicated industry leader advocating for sustainability with a passion for community involvement and developing new talent to shape the future of the chemicals industry.”

Joseph Chang, global editor of ICIS Chemical Business, commended ExxonMobil’s efforts, saying, “ExxonMobil is leading the advancement of chemical recycling of plastics at scale. It also has a huge opportunity to meaningfully reduce the carbon footprint of its chemicals and plastics, and help other companies decarbonize with big investments in hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.”

Inspiring the Next Generation:

McKee’s exemplary leadership and dedication to sustainability have not only propelled ExxonMobil’s success but also inspired the next generation of talent in the chemicals industry. Her involvement in trade associations, community initiatives, and her commitment to nurturing new talent demonstrate her passion for shaping the industry’s future.

By spearheading initiatives focused on sustainability, McKee inspires others to embrace change and drive positive environmental impact. Her achievements highlight the importance of visionary leadership in addressing the challenges facing the chemical industry and encourage others to adopt innovative approaches to creating a more sustainable future.


Karen McKee, the 2023 ICIS CEO of the Year and President of ExxonMobil Product Solutions, is an exceptional leader who has propelled ExxonMobil to new heights. Through her strategic vision, dedication to sustainability, and commitment to innovation, McKee has transformed the company and the chemical industry as a whole. Her accomplishments in profitability, environmental sustainability, and successful integration of operations serve as an inspiration to both industry veterans and aspiring leaders. Karen McKee’s recognition as the ICIS CEO of the Year underscores her transformative leadership and cements her position as a catalyst for change in the chemical industry.

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