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Hempel Seeking New CEO

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

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LYNGBY, DENMARK—In an unusually public statement, Hempel A/S has announced both the impending retirement of its chief executive officer and the search for his successor.

Pierre-Yves Jullien, CEO of the Denmark-based paint and coatings company since 2005, will retire after nearly 40 years in The Hempel Group "in order to spend more time with his family and on other activities," chairman Richard Sand announced Tuesday (April 14).

The announcement says Jullien will step down on March 31, 2016, "at the latest."

RichardSand Pierre-YvesJullien John Schwartzbach
The Hempel Group

Hempel chairman Richard Sand (left) announced that Pierre-Yves Jullien (center) would retire as CEO but move to the board of the Hempel Foundation, succeeding John Schwartzbach (right).

Typically, paint and coatings companies do not announce senior leadership changes until they have been completed.

Pivotal Moment

However, Hempel is at a pivotal moment in its history. The company, founded as a marine paints company, is entering its 100th year in the home stretch of a highly successful five-year growth plan called One Hempel - One Ambition.

That strategy, born in a down year for Hempel, set aggressive five-year growth goals for its products: quadrupling its decorative portfolio, doubling protective, and ramping up its marine products.

Hempel aims to become one of the world's top 10 coating suppliers by the end of this year.

It has rolled out a number of protective and marine coatings in recent years and reported record earnings and profits in 2014.

Help Wanted

Hempel's Board of Directors has begun the search for Jullien's successor, the company said.


Founded in 1915 as a marine paints company, Hempel has found strong growth in the protective segment. The company remains focused on anti-corrosion coatings.

The board "is confident that the success of the Group will attract the optimal candidate for the position as new CEO, and will work to ensure a professional and smooth transition," the company said.

"It will build on the achievements over the last 10 years, and maintain in full compliance with the key values inherited from the Group’s founder, J.C. Hempel."

Meanwhile, Jullien will join the board of the Hempel Foundation, the sole owner of Hempel A/S, "where his thorough understanding of the Group, accumulated through many years at Hempel, will be a great asset for the future."

The foundation is primarily a commercial enterprise that seeks to provide a solic economic base for the company. It also has a secondary social and charitable purpose. In 2014, the foundation's donations totaled about €24 million (about $25.5 million USD).

Hempel Foundation

Outgoing CEO Pierre-Yves Jullien will join the Hempel Foundation, which donated about $25.5 million in 2014 to charitable and social initiatives worldwide.

Jullien will replace the board's John Schwartzbach, a 10-year member who has reached the mandatory retirement age. Hempel said Schwartzbach had "played an important role in the development of the Hempel Foundation."

Ensuring the Future

"By focusing on the business and the staff—including new colleagues from [recent Hempel acquisitions] Schaepman in the Netherlands and Jones Blair in the U.S.—the Board of Directors is convinced that the Group will continue to reach new sales records" and surpass revenues of $1.4 billion USD in 2015.

"This will be the best way to celebrate the Hempel Group’s 100-year anniversary and to ensure the future of the Hempel Group," the company said.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Business management; Coating Business; Coating Materials; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Hempel; Latin America; Marine Coatings; North America; Personnel changes; Protective Coatings

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