Leadership Change in ALTANA’s ELANTAS division

  • At the end of the year, Dr. Guido Forstbach will hand over the worldwide leadership of the ELANTAS division to Ravindra Kumar 
  • Jan Behnke will become managing director of the U.S. company ELANTAS PDG

Wesel, August 16, 2022Specialty chemicals group ALTANA has announced a change in leadership at ELANTAS, its division specializing in innovative insulating and protective coatings. Dr. Guido Forstbach will retire at the end of this year and hand over the presidency of the ELANTAS division to Ravindra Kumar, who will consequently also become a member of ALTANA’s Executive Management Team, as of January 1, 2023. Kumar is currently managing director of ELANTAS PDG in St. Louis. He will be succeeded in this position by Jan Behnke, who is currently responsible for sales and technology in the U.S. company.

 Guido Forstbach joined the ALTANA Group in 2000 as managing director of what is now ACTEGA Rhenania, rising to become president of the ACTEGA division in 2001. Previously, Forstbach, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, had held various international technical and sales positions at Akzo Nobel and Sun Chemical since 1987. As part of the rotation of all four of ALTANA’s division presidents, Guido Forstbach became head of ELANTAS in November 2012.

Guido Forstbach has successfully managed two divisions over a period of more than 20 years and has thus played an essential role in helping to shape ALTANA's sustained success,” said Martin Babilas, CEO of ALTANA AG. “ELANTAS has developed very positively under his leadership, above all with the transformation to innovative electromobility solutions. We wish Guido Forstbach in advance all the best for his well-deserved retirement."


Ravindra Kumar has worked in the chemical industry for 26 years. In the first 15 years of his career, the chemical engineer held various sales and marketing positions at Asian Paints, BASF, and Huntsman in India. In 2012, he moved to Brussels within the Huntsman Group before joining the ALTANA Group as managing director of ELANTAS Beck India in January 2014. Since August 2019, he has been managing director of ELANTAS PDG in St. Louis. His successor in this position, Jan Behnke, who holds a degree in business administration, has over 30 years of experience in the chemical industry.

“Ravindra Kumar is distinguished not only by his excellent professional competence and international management experience; he is also a true team player who understands how to achieve top performances with good cooperation – in keeping with ALTANA's corporate culture," said Babilas. “We are looking forward to working with Ravindra Kumar in ALTANA’s Executive Management Team and wish him and Jan Behnke every success and great pleasure in their future positions.”

ALTANA is a global leader in true specialty chemicals. The Group offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions for coating manufacturers, paint and plastics processors, the printing and packaging industries, the cosmetics sector, and the electrical and electronics industry. The product range includes additives, specialty coatings and adhesives, effect pigments, sealants and compounds, impregnating resins and varnishes, and testing and measuring instruments. ALTANA’s four divisions, BYK, ECKART, ELANTAS, and ACTEGA, all occupy a leading position in their target markets with respect to quality, product solution expertise, innovation, and service.

Headquartered in Wesel, Germany, the ALTANA Group has more than 48 production facilities and 65 service and research laboratories worldwide. Throughout the Group, more than 6,700 people work to ensure the worldwide success of ALTANA. In 2021, ALTANA achieved sales of around € 2.7 billion. About 7 percent of the total sales is invested in research and development each year. Its high earning power and high growth rate make ALTANA one of the world’s most innovative, fastest growing, and most profitable chemical companies.


ELANTAS produces protection and electrical insulating materials for the electrical and electronics industry. They are used in electric motors, household appliances, cars, generators, wind mills, solar units, transformers, capacitors, computers, lamps, and sensors and support product design engineers to construct ever smaller and more powerful electrical and electronic devices, thus saving materials and energy. At the same time the products enhance the life cycle of such electrical and electronical devices. The ALTANA division, which is managed by a holding company headquartered in Wesel/Germany, has eight manufacturing companies in all major regions worldwide. In 2021, ELANTAS employed a total workforce of 1.061 people.