KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Eastman Chemical Co. announced that it has delayed the planned spin-off of its specialty chemicals and plastics business due to adverse market conditions and the lack of near-term visibility. The company currently expects to review the environment for the spin-off in the middle of 2002, pending improvement in the global economic outlook.

The company also announced the election by its board of directors of J. Brian Ferguson as chairman and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2002. Ferguson succeeds Earnest W. Deavenport, Jr., who previously announced his plans to retire.

Ferguson, 47, is currently president of Eastman's Chemicals Group. He began his career with Eastman in 1977 as a chemical engineer at the company's facility in Longview, Texas.

"I have full confidence in Mr. Ferguson and his ability to lead the company," said Deavenport. "After 41 years of rewarding service to Eastman and the industry, I'm proud to leave Eastman in the hands of such strong leadership."

Consistent with the announcement to delay the proposed spin-off, Eastman also announced a new structure. This will enable Eastman Chemical Co. to operate two independent divisions: Eastman Co. and Voridian Co. This structure will enable each division to continue to pursue separate strategies for growth, operational efficiencies and customer focus under one corporate entity.

Eastman Co. will consist of businesses now in the company's Chemicals Group. Those businesses are coatings, adhesives, specialty polymers and inks, specialty plastics, and performance chemicals and intermediates. Eastman's digital business ventures will also be part of this organization. Voridian Co. will consist of businesses now in the company's Polymers Group. Those businesses include PET polymers for container plastics, fibers and polyethylene.

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