Akzo meet may end in chairman's ouster

Mr Ton Buechner quit abruptly for health reasons.
Mr Ton Buechner quit abruptly for health reasons.

AMSTERDAM • The resignation of Akzo Nobel's chief executive officer poses a dilemma for the Dutch paintmaker as a shareholders' meeting to approve his replacement could open the way for a vote on chairman Antony Burgmans, who is under pressure for rejecting a takeover bid.

Mr Thierry Vanlancker was named new chief executive on Wednesday after his predecessor, Mr Ton Buechner, quit abruptly for health reasons. Mr Vanlancker must deliver the higher sales and margins promised when Akzo Nobel fended off a €26.3 billion (S$41.7 billion) bid by US rival PPG Industries.

Hedge fund Elliott Advisors, now Akzo's largest shareholder with a 9.5 per cent stake, lost its initial bid to oust Mr Burgmans, which it sees as the mastermind of Akzo's refusal to talk to PPG. The legal effort to remove Mr Burgmans continues.

Shareholders must eventually approve Mr Vanlancker as CEO. But a meeting could give them an opportunity to push for a vote on the position of Mr Burgmans - which they have been demanding for months.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2017, with the headline 'Akzo meet may end in chairman's ouster'. Print Edition | Subscribe