2019 Petrochemical Award Honorees


In the mid-1980s, T.T. Chao and his sons Albert Chao and James Y. Chao founded Westlake Chemical Corporation, with its headquarters in Houston. In 1986, the company started-up a low-density polyethylene plant in Sulphur, Louisiana as Westlake Polymers Corporation. Since then, Westlake has grown through green-field constructions and acquisitions to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2004 and on the Fortune 500 in 2018. Focused on the olefins and vinyls sectors, the company operates over 40 sites in North America, Europe and Asia, with revenue in 2017 exceeding $8 billion.  Today, Westlake employs approximately 10,000 worldwide.

James Chao serves as Chairman of the Westlake Chemical Corporation and the Westlake Chemical Partners LP Boards of Directors. He has over 45 years of global experience in the petrochemicals and downstream industries.  In addition to Westlake, he and his brother Albert assisted their father in also founding Titan Chemicals Corporation Bhd. in Malaysia (1998), and Suzhou Huasu Plastics Co. Ltd. in China (1993).  James Chao served as Westlake’s President and Titan’s Managing Director from their inceptions in 1986 to mid-1996 and 1988 to mid-2003, respectively.  He served as Titan’s Chairman and Director from mid-2003 to the end of 2010, when Titan was divested.  Prior to Titan and Westlake, James served as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of China General Plastics Group and held management positions with several international companies, including Mattel, Inc., Development Bank of Singapore, and Gulf Oil Chemicals.   James is a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Chemical Industry.  His civic and community engagements include serving as a Board member of various medical and academic institutions, such as the Board of Trustees of Baylor College of Medicine, the Advisory Board of the Chazen Institute of International Business, and the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School.  James received his Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School.

Albert Chao is President, Chief Executive Officer, and a Director of Westlake Chemical Corporation and Westlake Chemical Partners LP.  In addition, Albert is a Director of Suzhou Huasu Plastics Co, Ltd. in China.  Albert has been with Westlake Chemical Corporation since its inception in 1986, first as an Executive Vice President, then as President in mid-1996, and was also appointed as President and CEO in July 2004. Mr. Chao’s career spans over 40 years in international business activities in the petrochemical industry working with Mobil Oil Corporation, Hercules Inc., and Gulf Oil Chemicals.  He was a Special Assistant to the Chairman of China General Plastics Group in Taiwan and the Deputy Managing Director of a plastics fabrication operation in Singapore, and was also a member of the Board of Directors of Titan Chemicals Corporation in Malaysia. Today, Mr. Chao serves on the Boards of Directors of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association, Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Greater Houston Partnership, and other civic, community and academic organizations, including Board Trustee of Rice University.  Albert received his Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University and MBA from Columbia University.

Chao Family Background

Known as a pioneer in the chemicals and plastics industry in Asia and later in the United States, Mr. Ting Tsung (T.T.) Chao created successful global enterprises spanning over 50 years.  During his illustrious career and lifetime (1921-2008), he founded numerous petrochemical and plastics fabrication companies throughout the world, including plants in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, the United States and Canada. Many of these companies were created in partnership with international firms such as Mobil Oil Corp., Gulf Oil Corp., Mattel Inc., Sumitomo Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Hercules, Inc., Himont Inc., BTR PLC, and government-invested companies such as DBS, Norsk Hydro AS, PNB (Malaysia), and the IFC of the World Bank.

The Chao family moved to Taiwan from Suzhou, China in the late 1940s.  In the mid-1950s, T.T. Chao was a co-founder of Taiwan’s first polyvinyl chloride (PVC) business, under the auspices of a United States A.I.D. program.  A decade later, he established China General Plastics Group. With his entrepreneurship, he formed many joint ventures with aforementioned partners and grew rapidly in Asia. By the mid-1980s, CGPC Group was among the top 10 companies in Taiwan and number two in the petrochemical industry. In 2005, T.T. Chao was presented with the Petrochemical Heritage Award.  In 2018, the Chao Family was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.


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