Hariolf Kottmann launched his industry career in the Central Research department at the former Hoechst AG in Frankfurt in 1985. Several years in Research and Development were followed by stops in the Knapsack and Ruhrchemie plants in Production, Marketing, and Controlling and in the Corporate Center (ZDA) of the Executive Board of Hoechst AG in Frankfurt.
In 1995–96, he was head of the Production and Technology department of the Specialty Chemicals Division at the Höchst location, now part of Clariant. In 1996, he was appointed Deputy Head of the Base Chemicals Division at Hoechst AG and Head of the Business Unit Inorganic Chemicals.
In the years up to 2001, he was responsible for other businesses such as acrylates and acetyls within this business area, which was Celanese AG as of 1998. He spent four years in the United States, primarily in Summit, New Jersey and in Dallas, Texas.
In April 2001, Kottmann was appointed to the Executive Committee of SGL Carbon AG. In this role, he headed the Advanced Materials Division as well as the regions Eastern Europe and Asia. In addition, he was responsible for the corporate functions SGL Excellence as well as Technology and Innovation.
In March 2008, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Clariant. On October 1 the same year, he became CEO. Within the Executive Committee, he is responsible for Corporate Planning and Strategy, Corporate Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, Group Communications, Group Human Resources, Group Investor Relations, Group Legal, Group Senior Management Development, as well as Clariant Excellence in its entirety with a special focus on People Excellence.
Hariolf Kottmann is a member of the Supervisory Board of Plansee Holding AG, Austria and the Board of Trustees of the ETH Foundation, Zurich. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Aventis Foundation, Frankfurt, as well as the Provadis School and a member of the Executive Committee of Science Industries, Zurich. He is President of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and President of the Board of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). He is also Foundation President of the Clariant Foundation.
Hariolf Kottmann is a German citizen. He earned his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Stuttgart in 1984.