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Akzo Nobel says CEO Ton Buechner has stepped down due to health reasons

  • Thierry Vanlancker, previously the head of Specialty Chemicals at AkzoNobel, will be the new CEO for the Dutch paints company.
  • Buechner joined Akzo Nobel in 2012 and has been responsible for "significantly improving the performance of the company, increasing profitability and cash flow to record levels."
Ton Buechner, chief executive officer of Akzo Nobel NV, looks on during a news conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
Bloomberg | Jasper Juinen | Getty Images
Ton Buechner, chief executive officer of Akzo Nobel NV, looks on during a news conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Akzo Nobel Chief Executive Ton Buechner has stepped down with immediate effect due to health reasons, the company announced on Wednesday morning.

Thierry Vanlancker, previously the head of Specialty Chemicals at Akzo Nobel, will be the new CEO for the Dutch paints company.

Buechner joined the company in 2012 and has been responsible for "significantly improving the performance of the company, increasing profitability and cash flow to record levels," Akzo Nobel said in a statement.

"It is with great regret that Ton is stepping down due to health reasons. He has been an outstanding leader for Akzo Nobel, transforming the company and setting it up for future success. His focus on delivering for our customers and operational excellence has driven profitability to record levels, increasing returns to shareholders," Chairman Antony Burgmans, said in a statement.

On a subsequent media call, Burgmans declined to go into details of Buechner's medical condition. "I'm not a doctor and I don't speculate about his medical details," he said. "It would be disrespectful if we went into details ... Considering the difficulty of the decision I think we have to respect that."

Burgmans did explain that it was more of a preemptive decision that Buechner had taken very recently. Buechner felt that if he continued his work and subject himself to the pressure that the job entails then it could have had a detrimental effect on his health, according to the chairman.

The outgoing chief earlier this year repelled a takeover attempt from U.S. rival PPG Industries. In September 2012, Buechner stepped down briefly from his role after what was described as "over-tiredness", according to Reuters.