Lee Sullivan, the respected former chairman of INDA, Association of the Nonwoven fabrics Industry, and a long-time industry executive who worked with some of the leading companies in the global nonwovens industry for three decades, passed away at home after a valiant two-year battle with brain cancer on October 9. He was 66 years old.
“Lee was not only a leading executive and visionary in the world of nonwovens, he was also a true, personal friend,” says Rory Holmes, president of INDA. “Lee’s contributions to INDA in his time on the executive committee, including an extremely successful tenure as chairman, were a great benefit to the association and to the nonwovens industry as a whole.”
“Lee was a strong force for INDA and for the nonwovens business,” adds Ted Wirtz, former INDA President. “His contributions to both the industry and to INDA were significant and will not be forgotten.”
Sullivan was born in Yonkers, NY and was raised in Riverdale, NY. He was a graduate of the City College of New York with a B.S. in Geology, later receiving the Master's degree from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. A Durham, NC, resident since 1985, he spent 12 years in the U.S. Army, serving as an infantry officer in Vietnam.
Sullivan spent almost 30 years in the nonwoven textile business, with most of his career in marketing and sales. He moved into general management responsibilities in 1989 as President & CEO of Freudenberg Spunweb Company after previously working with the Kendall Company, a subsidiary of Colgate Palmolive, based in Boston, MA. He was general manager, Tuft Division of Freudenberg Nonwovens from October 1997 to December 2004. He also served on the Freudenberg Nonwovens group executive committee that oversaw approximately $900 million in sales around the world before his retirement in 2007.
Sullivan was chairman of INDA in 2001 and 2002 and had been active in the nonwovens trade association for many years, representing the Kendall Company and Freudenberg for more than 25 years, and has held numerous positions on committees, the board and the executive committees.
Surviving are his wife of 45 years, Carol Robertson Sullivan; his son, Lee Jay Sullivan and wife, Verne, of Chester Springs, Pa.; his grandchildren, Holly and Logan Sullivan; and brothers, Dave and Michael Sullivan in New York.