Hans Wijers, CEO, of AkzoNobel has decided to step down with effect from next year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). The announcement was made by AkzoNobel’s Supervisory Board on June 10.
Wijers replacement – pending AGM approval – will be Ton Büchner, who is currently president and CEO of Swiss multinational Sulzer AG.
Wijers joined AkzoNobel as member of the Board of Management in October 2002 and was subsequently appointed CEO in May 2003.
Having previously pursued a successful career as minister for economics in The Netherlands and within management consultancy, he quickly identified that the diversity of the company – the product of a history of mergers and acquisitions – was preventing the creation of long-term value for all stakeholders.
In his first few years, he improved the pipeline of the Pharma business, focused the chemicals businesses and successfully grew coatings. Following these strategic changes, he led the transformation of the company by divesting its pharmaceuticals operations and acquiring ICI. Under Wijers’ leadership, AkzoNobel has recently embarked on a strategy of accelerated, sustainable growth aiming at €20bn of revenues in the medium-term and y-on-y EBITDA growth.
"Hans has built a considerable legacy at AkzoNobel, which bears testament to his skills as a leader and businessman,” commented Karel Vuursteen, chairman of AkzoNobel’s Supervisory Board. "The transformation of the company from a diverse conglomerate in 2003 to a focused, global market leader in coatings, speciality chemicals and sustainability is due, in large part, to his vision and drive. He will leave behind a business, which is both operationally and financially strong; capable of continuing to grow and to deliver real