Watch Jirong Xiao’s acceptance speech on our Youtube channel at: https://youtu.be/Dhb36VjBhSw
Far too infrequently do we look back and recognize an individual’s outstanding performance, or the vital role he or she has played in the development of a particular discipline. The F&L Asia Awards are now in their second year of existence and provide the perfect opportunity to acknowledge exceptional contributions to the fuels and lubricants industry.
This year’s awards were held in conjunction with F+L Week 2018, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Macao, Southern China on March 8.
Chevron Oronite’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Jirong Xiao, received the prestigious ‘F&L Asia Person of the Year’ Award, for his considerable influence in not only Chevron Oronite’s robust growth throughout the last decade, but also in shaping the overall direction of the additive industry, particularly in the Asian market. Xiao is the longest-tenured senior leader at Oronite and was selected by the F+L Week Independent Advisory Board from several outstanding nominees.
“I am both humbled and honoured to accept this award on behalf of Oronite,” he said. “This award is not about me, it’s about you (the members of the fuels and lubricants community), and it’s about Oronite who make this journey fun and a lot more rewarding. Thank you for making this such an attractive industry.”
Presenting the award to Jirong Xiao was Arunratt Wuttimongkolchai, vice president for petroleum products and alternative fuel technology, of the Research Department of PTT’s In- novation Institute, and a member of the F+L Week 2018 advisory board.
“I am honoured and pleased to be here as part of my role on the F+L Week Advisory Board and to make the announcement for the winner of the F&L Asia Person of the Year 2018 award,” she said.
Xiao, who grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution which lasted from 1966 until 1976, said he believed that he would be sent to work on the farm after high school as part of China’s “Down to the Countryside Movement.” But the fortune of this talented young man changed.
“I grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. I expected nothing but to be sent to the farm to be re-educated after high school. Then the Cultural Revolution came to an abrupt end and China opened its doors to the world. I was sent to the U.S. after college.”
Xiao obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering from the East China University of Science in Shanghai in 1982 and in 1990 graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.
“Here I am many years later accepting this award when Asia and China are now the envy of the world for their economic and social advance. What a change we have all witnessed and what a great fortune I’ve had,” Xiao said.
Of Xiao, Arunratt cites his “superb record of achievement sponsoring and advocating the Oronite growth strategy over the past decade, including major expansion work at Oronite’s Singapore manufacturing hub, the largest additive plant in the Asia Pacific region, as well as the planned addition of an Oronite facility in Ningbo, China.”
Xiao was also instrumental in the establishment of a technical center in Shanghai in 2017. The Shanghai team successfully launched the first product developed specifically for the China market that meets API SN, GF-5 and LSPI performance — before having the official API SN Plus specification.
Despite Asians’ great success in many disciplines in the United States, Xiao said that Asian Americans are still underrepresented in senior positions in large corporations in America. Xiao has worked with Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and Ascend, an organization for Pan-Asians‘ leadership development, to assist in the development of a unique leadership program at the Stanford Business School — aimed specifically at developing Asian American and Asian executives.
Oronite and its parent Chevron Corp. have sent close to 100 people to the program at a “not insignificant” cost of more than USD 12,000 per person, he said.
“Seeing those Asian leaders now become leaders in their respective fields gives me a great deal of satisfaction,” Xiao said.
“Over the last few decades when we look back and survey our industry, there has been a lot of great progress. Our industry plays a vital role in enabling Asia’s growth and human progress,” Xiao suggested. He cited the role of Chevron’s premium base oil technology as an enabler in helping reach the fuel efficiency targets set by regulators around the world. Xiao was part of Chevron’s base oil technology team before he joined Oronite. In addition, additive technology has enabled the longer drain intervals which have more than doubled in the last two decades, thus reducing the environmental footprint of our industry.
Reflecting on his 27 years with Chevron, including more than a dozen with Oronite, Xiao said he feels “extremely fortunate to be part of this journey, enabling me to play a small role in pushing our company and industry forward.”
Of Asia, Xiao believes the region will continue to grow and prosper, despite today’s uncertainties. In part, he said, “because of all of you, who are sitting here, are going to make progress for our industry.”
Prior to becoming vice president of sales and marketing at Oronite in June 2013, Xiao served as vice president of products and technology from 2006 to 2013. He joined Chevron Research and Technology Company as a research engineer in the Lubricants Base Oils area in 1990 and became a team leader several years later, helping launch Chevron’s proprietary ISODEWAXING® technology that has since transformed the base oils and lubricants industry. In 1997 he became a sales and marketing manager in technology marketing at Chevron Products. He was appointed in 2000 as R&D and new business manager for new refining, gas-to-liquid and heavy oil conversion technologies, and technology director for Advanced Refining Technologies, a joint venture between Chevron and Grace, and Chevron Lummus Global, a joint venture between Chevron and CB&I. In 2005, he became service center manager in Chevron Marketing.