media release

CEO honored with Polar Star

Cees van Lede, Chairman of Akzo Nobel’s Board of Management, has been honored with a highly prestigious Swedish award.

Arnhem, the Netherlands, December 18, 2002 – Cees van Lede, Chairman of Akzo Nobel’s Board of Management, has been honored with a highly prestigious Swedish award.

The Swedish Ambassador, Björn Skala, will present the Royal Order of the Polar Star, Commander 1st Class to Van Lede at a ceremony being held today at the Swedish Embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Akzo Nobel’s CEO will receive the honor in recognition of his achievements as chairman of the company, as well as for promoting Dutch/Swedish business and cultural relations.

Van Lede, who has a good command of Swedish, has been a keen advocate of strengthening ties between the two countries. He extended the Akzo Nobel Science Award to include Sweden as well as the Netherlands and was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. In addition he initiated an exchange program for Dutch and Swedish graduate students. Mr. Van Lede is also member of the Board of Directors of the Swedish company SCANIA AB.

Akzo Nobel’s strong links with Sweden date back to the merger in 1994 between the Dutch multinational Akzo and the Swedish company Nobel Industries, which was founded by Alfred Nobel. Van Lede’s deep personal involvement in the merger process was decisive for the successful cross border combination of the two companies. The Royal Order of the Polar Star is reserved for foreign nationals in recognition of personal services to Sweden or for the promotion of Swedish interests.

In May 2003 Mr. Van Lede will step down as CEO of Akzo Nobel, when he will be succeeded by Hans Wijers.

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