WILMINGTON, Del. -- Hercules Inc. has announced that its board of directors has named William H. Joyce chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Joyce was most recently chairman, president and chief executive officer of Union Carbide Corp., Danbury, Conn. He succeeds Thomas L. Gossage, who returned from retirement last fall at the request of the board to serve as chairman and CEO on an interim basis.

Gossage will continue to focus his efforts on the previously announced strategic process to merge or sell the company and its businesses. Gossage is expected to remain a member of the board for as long as he is needed in the strategic process.

"Bill Joyce is uniquely qualified to lead Hercules at this time. He brings with him a wealth of experience and success in the turnaround and recent sale of Union Carbide," said Edith E. Holiday, an outside director who is chairman of the board's Nominating Committee

"I am very pleased to join Hercules and look forward to rebuilding shareholder value," said Joyce. Gossage added, "We welcome Bill's strong leadership and team-building skills, and his proven ability to operate chemical businesses. I also welcome Bill's experience as we proceed with our process to merge or sell the company and its businesses."

Hercules recently completed the sale of its hydrocarbon resins and select portions of the rosins resins businesses to Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn. Gross proceeds from the divested businesses are approximately $244 million. The proceeds from the divestiture will be used by Hercules to reduce debt. In addition, Hercules has completed the sale of its peroxy chemicals business to GEO Specialty Chemicals, Inc. Terms of this transaction were not disclosed.