The Supervisory Board of Akzo Nobel N.V. (“AkzoNobel”) has today announced that Hans Wijers, Chief Executive Officer, has decided to step down with effect from the Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2012.
Supervisory Board also announced the appointment of Ton Büchner as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer – pending AGM approval – with effect from the AGM 2012. Ton Büchner is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Swiss publically-quoted multinational Sulzer AG.
Wijers (age 60) joined AkzoNobel as Member of the Board of Management in October 2002, and was subsequently appointed CEO in May 2003. Having previously pursued a successful career as minister for economics in the Netherlands and within management consultancy, he quickly identified that the diversity of the company – the product of a history of mergers and acquisitions – was preventing the creation of long-term value for all stakeholders.
his first few years, he improved the pipeline of the Pharma business, focused the Chemicals businesses and successfully grew Coatings. Following these strategic changes, he successfully led the transformation of the company by divesting its pharmaceuticals operations and acquiring ICI, effectively creating today’s AkzoNobel, the world leader in coatings and specialty chemicals.
Wijers’ focus to deliver value for all stakeholders realized an improved track record in the area of sustainability, a more diverse and engaged workforce and a true global spread of the company’s operations. Under Hans’ leadership, AkzoNobel has recently embarked on a strategy of accelerated, sustainable growth aiming at €20 billion of revenues in the medium-term and year-on-year EBITDA growth.
“Hans has built a considerable legacy at AkzoNobel which bears testament to his skills as a leader and businessman,” commented Karel Vuursteen, Chairman of AkzoNobel’s Supervisory Board. “The transformation of the company from a diverse conglomerate in 2003 to a focused, global market leader in coatings, specialty chemicals and sustainability is due, in large part, to his vision and drive. He will leave behind a business which is both operationally and financially strong; capable of continuing to grow and to deliver real value to all stakeholders.”
Ton Büchner (age 45) has been Chief Executive Officer of Sulzer AG (“Sulzer”), a publically traded company on the Swiss Stock Exchange, since 2007. He joined Sulzer in 1994 and has held a number of operational and leadership roles across the company including the presidencies of two of its divisions, Sulzer Turbomachinery Services and Sulzer Pumps. He was also Chief Representative and responsible for Sulzer operations in China.
Büchner has a proven track record for strategically developing and significantly growing the businesses he has managed, also under difficult market conditions. He started his professional career as an offshore oil and gas construction engineer with Allseas Engineering in Europe and worked for AkerKvaener throughout South East Asia for several years.
Dutch national, Ton Büchner graduated from Delft University of Technology with an MSc in Civil Engineering and gained an MBA from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Lausanne, Switzerland.
“We are fortunate to have secured Ton Büchner as our new CEO. His proven strategic experience leading a public company, and his expertise in the global industrial arena make him the ideal candidate for this role,” said Karel Vuursteen. “He also has an excellent track record of delivering strong results and experience of leading businesses in high-growth markets. We look forward to Ton joining us in January and building on the strong foundations left by his predecessor.”