Annual Report 2023

CEO’s Message

Connection and Collaboration

2023 was a terrific year for the American Chemical Society (ACS) as we took several bold steps to advance our vision of improving all people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.

As those words suggest, we have big ambitions — ambitions that can only be achieved by collaborating with a broader group of like-minded people and organizations. ACS partners with other science-related societies as well as industry, academia and government to address the challenges the world faces. We also engage with these institutions and with chemists all over the world to help move the discipline forward and to ensure that chemistry continues to thrive into the future.

Our financial performance was strong in 2023. The true value of that result is in providing the means to push aggressively toward the elements of our strategic plan and our mission that we feel are really important. Those include four strategic initiatives that our Board approved in 2021.

Under one of those initiatives — the Campaign for a Sustainable Future — we partnered with two other organizations (the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale, and Beyond Benign) to roll out a new online platform in 2023. The site is engaging with the chemistry enterprise to spread the use of sustainable practices. We also piloted new grant programs to support researchers who are exploring sustainable chemistry.

second strategic initiative is focused on CAS. The division’s products and services have historically centered on chemistry, but in 2023, CAS for the first time began to provide life sciences content through its existing SciFinder platform.

In another effort to better serve ACS customers, the Publications Division acquired Chronos Hub. We are partnering with this Copenhagen-based company to develop more effective technology to support our authors. While the quality of our journals is really high, we recognize that the author experience has sometimes been checkered. We want to bring the whole publishing experience up to the same level of excellence as the journals themselves represent.

We celebrated the centennial of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) in 2023. We look forward to its continued success over the next 100 years as an editorially independent source of news and information about the global chemistry enterprise.

2023 also was the first year in which we fully returned to a normal operating pattern following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At ACS, as at many other organizations, we recognized that a new normal had been established. For instance, we were pleased to see ACS meeting performance return to pre-pandemic levels, but expectations in the marketplace had evolved in the meantime, so several strategies were developed to make in-person events more relevant and responsive for customers. We'll begin implementing those changes in 2024 and beyond.

Those strategies were devised by governance and staff working in partnership with our member volunteers. Throughout 2023 — my first year as CEO — I spent a fair bit of time engaging with our volunteer leadership and attending local section events. Those interactions reinforced my belief that ACS volunteers are crucial to the success of the Society’s programs. Without this devoted network, we could not accomplish half of what we set out to do. I am grateful for their dedication.

I also want to acknowledge our extraordinary staff, who have leaned in through the tumult of the last few years and have continued to produce at an incredibly high level. It's through their efforts, in concert with our volunteers, that we're able to achieve the kinds of lofty ambitions we have set for ourselves.

My colleagues on the executive leadership team are another key factor in ACS’ success. We regretfully said goodbye to several valued team members who retired in 2023 and the first few months of 2024, but we look forward to the insights their successors will provide.

One initiative that will particularly benefit from the team’s varied viewpoints centers on diversity, equity, inclusion and respect (DEIR). This year, our DEIR efforts will expand to embrace accessibility to a greater extent than ever before. We want to ensure that everybody has an opportunity to take advantage of our products and services and to receive full benefit and value from them.

Through these and other actions, we will continue to strengthen our connection with and support for numerous communities as we work together to fulfill the ACS mission.

Albert G. Horvath, CEO
Albert G. Horvath, CEO
Credit: Hannah Gaber Media