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New AkzoNobel CEO Sidelined by Fatigue

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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Less than five months into his new position at the helm of the world’s largest paint and coatings company, AkzoNobel’s CEO has taken a medical leave of absence, citing fatigue.



Ton Büchner (left) took over in April from longtime CEO Hans Wijers.

Ton Büchner, 47, will take off several weeks after being diagnosed with "temporary fatigue," the Dutch chemical and paint maker announced in a brief statement Tuesday (Sept. 18).

Chief Financial Officer Keith Nichols will take on additional responsibilities in Büchner’s absence. Antony Burgmans, a member of the Supervisory Board, will be “on hand to offer advice and support to Keith and the Executive Committee,” the company said.

Investor Meeting Postponed

A spokesman for AkzoNobel told the Wall Street Journal that Büchner had "taken on too much work."

The company said Büchner would return to work “in the first half of October,” but an investor meeting scheduled for Oct. 22 has been postponed indefinitely. Meanwhile, AkzoNobel’s Q3 results are due to be published Oct. 18.

The company has been struggling for a year, although the second quarter was slightly better than expected, squeezing out single-digit revenue increases largely through price hikes.

CFO Keith Nichols will temporarily assume Büchner’s duties.

Büchner’s appointment was announced nearly a year before he took over in April from longtime CEO Hans Wijers.  Büchner had headed Swiss machinery maker Sulzer AG for five years.

Market Concerns

AkzoNobel’s stock took its biggest tumble in a year after Büchner’s leave was announced, according to Bloomberg.

Shares fell 5.5% to close at €46.16 ($60.55) a share in Amsterdam, declining from a 52-week high in the previous session, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“I was sad to learn about Ton’s condition, and we all look forward to seeing him back in the office shortly,” said Karel Vuursteen, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “However, in the meantime, we have a highly experienced Executive Committee and, together with Keith, they will provide strong leadership until Ton is back.”


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Business matters; Coatings manufacturers; Decorative coatings; High-performance coatings; Personnel; Specialty functions

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