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October 12, 2012 8:59 pm
Shares in Akzo Nobel NV, the Dutch coatings and chemicals group, dropped five per cent after the company announced that new chief executive Ton Büchner is not yet ready to return from the sick leave he took in mid-September, for reasons of fatigue.
Mr Büchner, who took over from longtime chief executive Hans Wijers in April, had been expected to be back at work in mid-October – but Akzo Nobel acknowledged that he has missed this deadline. In a statement, the company said a supervisory board meeting on Wednesday would “discuss the latest medical advice”.
The company was forced to issue the statement after a member of its board of supervisors, former Heineken chief executive Karl Vuursteen, confirmed Mr Büchner’s continued absence in an interview on Thursday with Dutch media.
Mr Vuursteen had criticised Mr Wijers in August for failing to recruit widely enough in his search for a successor. It was not clear whether Mr Vuursteen’s comments indicated broader dissatisfaction with Mr Büchner among board members or whether he had been speaking in a personal capacity.
Akzo Nobel is scheduled to release it third-quarter results on Thursday. A strategy update for investors had been scheduled for this month, but has been postponed due to Mr Büchner’s absence.
Mr Büchner, 47, previously led Swiss mechanical group Sulzer. He has stated that he wants to guide Akzo Nobel towards concentrating on improvements in operational performance, rather than making any major acquisitions or divestments.
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