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AkzoNobel CEO Makes ‘Full Recovery’

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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Nearly three months after abruptly announcing a leave of absence due to “temporary fatigue,” AkzoNobel’s chief executive officer is returning.

CEO Ton Büchner, 47, will resume his duties on Friday (Dec. 7), “following a full recovery,” the paint and coating maker’s Supervisory Board announced Monday (Dec. 3).

The company released no details about Büchner’s medical condition, saying that he and Supervisory Board member Antony Burgmans would answer questions Dec. 14 in media interviews and an analyst conference call.

Antony Burgmans Keith Nichols

Supervisory Board member Antony Burgmans (left) and CFO Keith Nichols have been handling Ton Büchner's duties since September.

Burgmans and Chief Financial Officer Keith Nichols have been filling in for Büchner.

"On behalf of the Supervisory Board and the Executive Committee, we welcome Ton coming back to the office,” said Karel Vuursteen, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “It has obviously been a testing time for all of us, but now Ton is back as expected, leading the company forward and returning to business as usual."

‘Recovery’ Cited

The company announced Sept. 17 that Büchner—who took over AkzoNobel in late April after five years with Sulzer AG—would be taking a medical leave of absence after being diagnosed with “temporary fatigue” from having “taken on too much work.”

Büchner was to return “in the first half of October,” that statement said.

On Oct. 17, however, in a statement that suggested a more serious condition, the company announced that Buchner would extend his leave.

Ton Buchner & Hans Wijers

Ton Büchner (left) succeeded longtime CEO Hans Wijers in April and began his leave in September.  AkzoNobel said Büchner would discuss his condition on Dec. 14.

“AkzoNobel's Supervisory Board this week received an update on the progress of CEO Ton Büchner's recovery,” the October statement said. “Following a Supervisory Board meeting today, the company reported that medical specialists expect the CEO to fully recover and that it is anticipated that he will return to work sometime around year-end.”

‘Great Future’

Buchner missed the Oct. 17 release of the company’s third-quarter report, which revealed a $3.1 billion loss for the company, due to impairment charges in the Decorative Paints business.

AkzoNobel said Monday that Büchner would deliver the company’s “Strategy Update”—postponed from Oct. 22—on Feb. 20, 2013, when the fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results are released.

In a statement, Büchner said, "I am thrilled to return to my post. I am grateful to my team who have taken care of the company so well during my absence.

"There is a great future for AkzoNobel, and we are looking forward to updating you on our plans to further improve the company's performance."

   

Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Business management; Business operations; Coating Business

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