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Akzo CEO Tom Buechner resigns with immediate effect

Akzo CEO Tom Beuchner

Akzo Nobel CEO Ton Buechner resigned unexpectedly on Thursday for health reasons amid renewed pressure from activist investor Elliott Management and the threat that PPG could return with another takeover attempt before the end of 2017.

The company did not disclose the nature of Mr Buechner's illness, which Mr Burgmans said came on in the last few days and is unrelated to the company's strategy. Mr Buechner decided to make a preemptive move to stand down to avoid any deterioration, Mr Burgmans said

The Dutch owner of the Dulux, Cuprinol, Hammerite and Polycell brands quickly appointed a successor Thierry Vanlancker, current head of the Speciality Chemicals Division, who will take on the reins with immediate effect. It is a dramatic rise for the former DuPont executive, who only joined Akzo Nobel in 2016 after overseeing the sale of pigment maker Chemours.

Akzo Nobel shares rose 0.7% to €78.48, valuing the company at €20 billion.The clock is ticking for Mr Vanlancker - just as it was for Mr Buechner - as the company pledged to stick to a planned strategy of exiting specialty chemicals.

Earlier this year Mr Buechner and Akzo Nobel chairman Antony Burgmans' refused to engage with PPG over its takeover, which angered some investors, with Elliott taking its desire for the business to engage in talks to court in the Netherlands.

On 1st June, PPG finally dropped its bid, stating it was in its best interests "at this time". Under Dutch takeover law, it now has to wait a minimum of six months before making another bid.

Read - PPG drops bid to acquire Akzo

The change in CEO is unlikely to make a renewed PPG bid any more successful, and should not be taken as a sign that Akzo Nobel's supervisory board will be any less determined to fend off Elliott as well, said analyst Markus Mayer.

Source: Insight DIY Team

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21 July 2017

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