Annika Karlsson

RD&I and Sustainability Director, Ethylene and Sulfur Derivatives

My name is Annika Karlsson. I was attracted to AkzoNobel by its track record of scientific excellence and commitment to innovative research and delivering sustainable products and solutions.


I´ve always wanted to use my knowledge of chemistry to develop safe and sustainable products that deliver real benefits to mankind, and AkzoNobel has given me that opportunity. It´s my job to bring together experts to develop and improve products and processes that fit the needs of our customers. The products from Ethylene and Sulfur Derivatives are used in a wide range of industries varying from coatings, mining, and agriculture to health care and foodstuffs.

I studied chemistry at the University of Göteborg in Sweden where I also completed my PhD before taking up a one-year research post at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. In 2000, I joined AkzoNobel’s Surface Chemistry Business Unit as a research scientist, before going on to work as a team leader for the synthesis and analytical laboratory in 2002. From there I moved into application development as manager at the Surface Chemistry laboratory in 2007, where I focused on mining and asphalt applications.

In 2010, I took up the position of RD&I Director in the Performance Additives business, and early 2015 I became Research Development & Innovation (RD&I) and Sustainability Director for the new Ethylene and Sulfur Derivatives business.  I lead a of team of 64 researchers based in Frankfurt (Germany), Sempach (Switzerland), Stenungsund (Sweden), Deventer (Netherlands) and Greiz (Germany).

I really enjoy being part of a group of scientists and researchers, who despite the diversity of their backgrounds and locations, are all working towards achieving the same goals. I love the combination of good chemistry, travel, and working with people. And I continue to be amazed by the sheer diversity of the work.