Akzo Nobel names Poux-Guillaume as new chief executive

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FILE PHOTO: Cans of Dulux paint, an Akzo Nobel brand, are seen on the shelves of a hardware store near Manchester, Britain.

By Sarah Morland

(Reuters) -Dulux paint maker Akzo Nobel has named French businessman Gregoire Poux-Guillaume as its new chief executive, with effect from Nov. 1.

Poux-Guillaume, 52, will take over from incumbent Thierry Vanlancker when his term ends, the Dutch company said, if shareholders approve the move at a general vote in September.

He previously headed Swiss manufacturing firm Sulzer and was a senior executive at private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. Vanlancker’s predecessor Ton Buechner had also been CEO at Sulzer.

The timing of the succession underlines a risk that Akzo Nobel could miss its 2023 profit goal, Jefferies analysts said in a note, adding that this could see more turnover from top management, whose long-term incentive plan is linked to hitting a 2 billion euro ($2.12 billion) target.

The group’s earnings have been dented by weak Chinese and European demand as well as rising raw material costs. Analysts polled by Vara Research predict the company will miss its target by just over 100 million euros.

“We’re grateful for Thierry’s leadership,” supervisory chairman Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in a statement, noting that his leadership saw Akzo Nobel split off its specialty chemicals business to focus on paints and industrial coatings.

Vanlancker took up the role in 2017, shortly after Akzo Nobel fended off a 26-billion-euro takeover bid by U.S. rival PPG Industries.

It sold its specialty chemicals division the following year for 10 billion euros, distributing proceeds to shareholders.

Poux-Guillaume is currently chairman at medical applicator business Medmix, which said he would not stand for re-election there.

Shares in Akzo Nobel were down more than 3% in early trading.

($1 = 0.9443 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Morland; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Louise Heavens)

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