HOUSTON, March 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE: WLK) today announced the passing of Ting Tsung "T.T." Chao, a global leader in the petrochemical and plastics industry and founder and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Westlake Chemical Corporation. Mr. Chao passed away peacefully on March 7, 2008. He was 86 years old.
During his 60-year career, Mr. Chao pioneered the petrochemical industry in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. He also founded plastics and fabrication companies throughout the world, including ventures in the United States, Canada, China, and Hong Kong.
Born in Suzhou, China in 1921, Mr. Chao moved to Taiwan with his family in 1946. In 1954, he built Taiwan's first polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant; and in 1964, he founded China General Plastics Group, which grew to include many of the largest plastics manufacturers in Asia. Mr. Chao entered the U.S. market in 1986 with the creation of what is today Westlake Chemical Corporation, a NYSE listed company. Concurrently, he also established Titan Chemicals Corporation, the first and largest petrochemical company in Malaysia. For his contributions to the country, he was conferred the title of Datuk (P.J.N.) by the King of Malaysia. In 1992, Mr. Chao completed the circle by investing in PVC resin and film plants in Suzhou, China. In 2005, Mr. Chao was recognized by the Chemical Heritage Foundation in the U.S. for his contribution to the development of the petrochemical industry and was awarded the Petrochemical Heritage Award.
T. T. Chao was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He will be remembered as an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a man of singular generosity. Throughout his life, Mr. Chao made significant contributions to healthcare, educational, social, and cultural organizations around the world. He inspired all who met him and set a standard of excellence for others to follow.
Mr. Chao is survived by his wife, Wei Fong Chao, and his family, including Dorothy Jenkins, a company director, James Chao, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Albert Chao, President & CEO and a director of the company, their spouses, and seven grandchildren.