Knut Søraas is a native of Oslo, Norway and is a career long employee of Esso/ExxonMobil. The last 17 years of his service with Esso, he worked almost exclusively on asphalt related matters. As Global Technical Advisor, Bitumen from 2001 to 2003, Knut was responsible for the bitumen product line, its performance, technical support, maintenance and development worldwide. Knut represented ExxonMobil within the various committees of Eurobitume from 1995-2003 and in 2002-2003 served as President – the top elected leadership position of the organization.
On October 1, 2003, Knut was appointed as Director General – Eurobitume’s full-time, top staff position. He oversaw the strategic and daily operations of the association. This included hiring a technical director with a new emphasis on health, safety and environment matters. Knut developed strong international relationships among his peers and their leadership teams as eh forged agreements for a unified approach to IARC preparations. These agreements, culminating in signing ceremonies in both the U.S. at the Asphalt Institute’s 2003 Annual Meeting and later in Brussels with his European colleagues, were landmark achievements in negotiations to common, high level principles of cooperation and transparency among trade groups with similar and diverse interests. While the specific practices evolved over time, the framework and developed trust remains a key model for the industry’s international cooperation in all activities.
Another major achievement during Knut’s leadership was the planning and execution he demonstrated as the European leader for the 2006 Dresden International Health Symposium on Worker Exposure to Asphalt Fume. Knut’s ability to engage the industry, the various academic and governmental scientists, and the regulatory community within Europe helped immeasurably in making this international offering a tremendous success. Knut now serves in a consultancy capacity to Eurobitume for the purposes of continued IARC preparations.