Akzo Nobel CEO to return by end of year

AMSTERDAM -- The chief executive of Akzo Nobel, the world's largest maker of paints by sales, will return to work by the end of this year, the company says.

Ton Buchner has been sidelined since mid-September with a medical diagnosis of "fatigue." Shares in Akzo Nobel have sold off sharply the past month as investors worried that Buchner's problems reflected trouble in the business, or that the company was suffering from a lack of strategic direction during his absence.

The chief financial officer and a board member have assumed Buchner's duties during his absence and will continue to do so, Akzo said in a statement Wednesday.

The company reports third quarter results Thursday.

Chairman Karel Vuursteen said Buchner's treatment is working, but he can't return yet.