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Grace Names Hudson La Force President and Chief Operating Officer

COLUMBIA, Md., Feb. 04, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE:GRA) announced today that Hudson La Force has been named President and Chief Operating Officer effective immediately. Since 2008, La Force has served as Grace’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

In his new role, La Force is responsible for Grace’s Catalysts Technologies and Materials Technologies business segments and Grace’s global manufacturing and supply chain operations.

The company expects to announce the appointment of a Chief Financial Officer soon. Until then, La Force will continue to serve in this capacity.

Since La Force joined Grace in April 2008, the company has experienced significant improvement in profitability, cash flow, and return on invested capital. Gross margins increased eight percentage points, Adjusted EBITDA margins increased 11 percentage points, adjusted free cash flow increased nearly three times, and adjusted return on invested capital increased 11 percentage points.

Grace’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Fred Festa said, “Hudson has earned the deep respect of investors, customers, and employees. He has demonstrated everything our Board is looking for in a strategic leader to help us achieve our goals for growth and profitability.”

Prior to joining Grace, La Force served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Counselor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and served as a member of the President's Management Council. Previously, he held business and financial leadership positions at Dell, Inc., where he served as a general manager for Dell in China, among other roles. He also held leadership roles at AlliedSignal, Inc. (now Honeywell) and Emerson Electric Co.

About Grace

Grace is a leading global supplier of catalysts and engineered materials. The company’s two industry-leading business segments—Catalysts Technologies and Materials Technologies—provide innovative products, technologies, and services that enhance the products and processes of our customer partners around the world. Grace employs approximately 3,700 people in over 30 countries. More information about Grace is available at

Forward-looking statements

This document and the exhibits hereto contain forward-looking statements, that is, information related to future, not past, events.  Such statements generally include the words “believes,” “plans,” “intends,” “targets,” “will,” “expects,” “suggests,” “anticipates,” “outlook,” “continues” or similar expressions.  Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, expected financial positions; results of operations; cash flows; financing plans; business strategy; operating plans; capital and other expenditures; competitive positions; growth opportunities for existing products; benefits from new technology and cost reduction initiatives, plans and objectives; and markets for securities.  For these statements, Grace claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  Like other businesses, Grace is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause its actual results to differ materially from its projections or that could cause other forward-looking statements to prove incorrect.  Factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements or that could cause other forward-looking statements to prove incorrect include, without limitation, risks related to:  the cyclical and seasonal nature of the industries that Grace serves; the effectiveness of Grace’s research and development and new product introductions; the cost and availability of raw materials and energy; foreign operations, especially in emerging regions; changes in currency exchange rates; developments affecting Grace’s outstanding liquidity and indebtedness, including debt covenants and interest rate exposure; developments affecting Grace’s funded and unfunded pension obligations; acquisitions and divestitures of assets and gains and losses from dispositions; warranty and product liability claims; hazardous materials and costs of environmental compliance; the separation, such as the costs of the separation, Grace’s company’s ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the separation and distribution, and the value of Grace’s common stock following the separation; and those additional factors set forth in Grace’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly report on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K which have been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Rich Badmington
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Tania Almond
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