DEFINITION of James P. Mooney

James P. Mooney was the President, CEO, and chairman of the board for his family company of Mooney Chemicals, a chemical company that manufactured industrial metals for a B2B market. In the course of his tenure through the company, James P. Mooney took Mooney Chemicals through a major merger, several company restructurings, and also the process of going public in the mid-1990s.


Born in 1947 in Ohio, James P. Mooney got his BA from Quincy University in 1970 and then joined his family's business, Mooney Chemicals, in 1971. Founded by his father in 1946, the company specialized in the creation of metal carboxylates for industrial uses. The younger Mooney served in various positions throughout the company beginning in 1971, with an eye towards taking over for his father. In 1975 he became president and CEO for the company, which was a privately held company at the time.

As President, he led the company through growth and changes in his industry of industrial metals and finishing powders for industrial uses. He also took the company through the paces of a merger with Finnish metals company Outokumpu Chemicals. A third company, Vasset SA, became part of the merger and the company was renamed the OM Group. Within a few years, the company went public on the NASDAQ and then the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), using the capital infusion to go on a buying expedition of acquiring companies.

Following the move to the NYSE, Mooney began to acquire companies that he hoped would expand the markets his company could compete in as well as expanding manufacturing and marketing capabilities for the entire company.  The first of these was the 1996 acquisition of SCM Metal Products for $122, who at the time was the world’s largest manufacturers of copper powders. In 1997, OM Group made two additional acquisitions. The first was Fidelity Chemical, which made parts for motherboard and data storage devices, and then the privately held Auric Corporation, a producer of electroplating chemical and metal concentrates.

Later, in 2001, an additional acquisition of Degussa Metals Catalyst Cerdex gave the company advantages in new markets for the company, including automotive catalysts, electroplating, emission control devices, fuel cells, jewelry, metals trading and technical materials.  By this time, the OM Group had offices in over fifty countries on all five continents and a workforce of around 1400 people, most of whom were involved in either the manufacturer or marketing of the company’s products.

In November 2002, problems arose when the company saw a significant drop in stock value from $30 per share to $6.50. There were two issues to this loss in value. One, there was a steep decline in the value of cobalt, which led to a decrease in the value of OM Group’s inventory of cobalt, and two, there was an unexpected decrease in sales to the Department of Defense Logistics Agency.  This called for another restructuring of the company, which Mooney led, but the writing was on the wall for the CEO that came from a family run privately held company that a publicly owned company operated differently.

After the decline in the company’s stock value in 2002, Mooney divided the company into three separate business units, Nickel, Cobalt and Precious Metals as part of a restructuring plan. But Mooney had to report in April of 2003 that the net loss of the previous year had been $327.9 million. It took some time, but ultimately Mooney was relieved of his position as President, chairman, and CEO in January 2005. 

The latest news of the OM Group is that in June of 2015, OM Group agreed to be privatized by Apollo Global Management who made an offer of around $1.03 billion in cash. It is unclear if James P. Mooney is still involved with the company, which now enjoys assets of $2.5 billion.