Western Research Institute Announces New CEO Dr. Didier Lesueur

April 2, 2024

The board of directors of Western Research Institute is pleased to announce that it has hired Dr. Didier Lesueur as the next chief executive officer. Dr. Lesueur will replace Dr. Jean Pascal Planche, who will retire in June 2024, after distinguished service as WRI’s CEO since 2020 and as vice president before that.

Dr. Lesueur currently serves as Director of the Centre for Materials and Processes at the Institute for Mining and Telecoms Northern Europe (IMT Nord Europe). He is a materials scientist who combines over three decades of world-class expertise in asphalt and building materials with business acumen in the international arena. He earned a Ph.D. in materials science from the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA Lyon -France) and, subsequently, an M.B.A. from IE Business School (Madrid, Spain).

“We are delighted to have a scientist and business leader of Dr. Lesueur’s stature join the WRI team,” says board chair Dr. Myron Allen. “It was daunting to imagine finding a new CEO who could match Dr. Planche’s talent and dedication, and the entire board is excited at the outcome of our search.”

WRI is a nonprofit research-and-development institute headquartered in Laramie, Wyoming. The institute’s business includes commercial, university, and federal contracts focusing on a variety of chemistry-related technologies, such as:

  • Asphalt chemistry, modification, and recycling

  • Hydrocarbon products analytic services

  • Chemical upcycling technologies for plastics, wind turbine blades, biomass, and other wastes

  • Advanced carbon materials, such as carbon fibers from mesophase pitch

  • Coal-to-materials technologies

  • Heavy oil and bitumen upgrading and de-asphalting

  • Carbon-chemistry pilot-plant operations, chemical engineering upscaling and services.