Martha C. Huber
Wed, June 8, 2016
Former Director, J.M. Huber Company
Martha Huber served on the board of J. M. Huber Corporation (Huber), a $2 billion industrial company entering its sixth generation of family ownership, for twenty years. During this period, Huber, its board, and family governance went through significant transformation while remaining true to fundamental Huber family principles.
Through divestitures, acquisitions and internal growth, Huber evolved from a primarily domestic commodity producer of inorganic chemicals and natural resources to a global, specialty engineered materials portfolio company. Huber also transitioned from a family run company with a board of family directors to a professionally managed company and a board comprised by design of a majority of independent directors. The Huber family navigated a generational transition and also developed a formalized family governance structure to assure appropriate communication and connection between the family and the company. The Huber portfolio today consists of Huber Engineered Woods (building products), Huber Engineered Materials (specialty chemicals), and C.P. Kelco (specialty hydrocolloids). In 2013, Huber received the IMD Lombard-Odier Global Family Business Award for excellence in family business and governance.
Martha was one of the first fourth generation family members elected to the Huber board. During her tenure on the board, she served on every committee including Corporate Governance & Nominating, Environmental Health & Safety, Executive, Management & Compensation, Finance, and Audit. She chaired the Audit Committee from 2008 through 2013. Although private, Huber holds itself to public company standards. She chaired the Finance Committee from 2008 through 2010. Huber first entered the credit markets in the late 1990’s and has built a capital structure to support its strategic growth plans. Martha served on the Management & Compensation Committee when it led the CEO succession process on behalf of the board, resulting in the appointment of Huber’s current CEO & President in 2009. Martha also served on the board of Huber’s regulated Irish finance subsidiary. In 2013, Huber having weathered the financial crisis which began in 2008, and successfully transitioned to non-family board co-chairs and to a non-family CEO & President, Martha left the Huber board, having served for a period roughly double the tenure guideline. She is proud to have been an integral part of the team guiding Huber’s progress through this period, reshaping Huber for long term profitable growth for future generations.
Martha has also been active in Huber family governance. She continues to mentor many family members. She currently serves on the family Nominating and Evaluation Committee. She is also serving on the Owner’s Room Task Force which is assessing the effectiveness of current family governance for Huber shareholders. She previously served on several task forces which have shaped governance for both Huber and the Huber family. She served on the Family Employment Committee, a board and family working group, which reviewed family employment policies and practices for Huber. She also served on the board of HFO Services, the Huber family office, for eight years.
Martha worked for the Rockefeller Group (RGI) from 1984 through 1995. When she joined RGI, it was a real estate and real estate development company owned in trust by the Rockefeller family. RGI’s strategic goals were to diversify and to provide liquidity to its shareholders. Martha’s initial responsibilities in Treasury included development of financial plan models and investment analysis.
In 1985, she joined Corporate Planning and Development with responsibility for identifying industries for diversification, direction of acquisition teams, development of recapitalization alternatives and divestitures. She also directed strategic planning for RGI and its operating subsidiaries, Rockefeller Group Management Company, Rockefeller Group Development Company, Rockefeller Group Telecommunications Services, Cushman & Wakefield, and Radio City Music Hall.
In 1987, after a change in its strategic goals, the Rockefeller Group established a leveraged buyout fund, Rock Capital Partners, to pursue higher risk equity investments. Martha was involved in all aspects of Rock Capital Partners from its inception including seeking limited partners and analysis and execution of acquisitions. Martha worked closely with the portfolio companies providing support in strategic planning, evaluation and recruitment of management, cash management, refinancings and divestitures.
In 1989, Martha assumed responsibility for maximizing the recovery value of an RGI portfolio of debt investments in unaffiliated companies. Many of these debt investments resulted from bridge loan financings and required significant restructuring. Martha continued to work with the equity portfolio companies as well. Martha enjoyed the diverse range of companies and people she worked with at RGI including Drake Bakeries (snack cakes); Outlet Communications (television and radio broadcasting); Best Products (catalog showroom retailer); Appletree Markets (grocery stores); HCA (hospitals); and Unimast (construction metals manufacturer). She served on the boards of Appletree Markets and of Unimast.
Prior to joining RGI, Martha worked for Coopers & Lybrand as a staff accountant in audit from 1982 until 1984.
Martha was born in western Massachusetts. She received her AB from Barnard College in 1978. She then worked as a research associate in a biochemistry lab at Rockefeller University before deciding to pursue a business career. She returned to Columbia and received an MBA with concentrations in finance and accounting from Columbia Business School in 1982. Martha and her husband, Michael, live in New York City. They have two children, Jacob, age 23 and Isabella, age 20.