LafargeHolcim taps Sika CEO

25 May 2017

LafargeHolcim (HCMLY)  shares surged to the top of the market in Zurich Monday after it poached Swiss chemical maker Sika’s CEO Jan Jenisch to lead the world’s biggest cement maker.

Jenisch, 50, will join LafargeHolcim on October 16. He will replace LafargeHolcim’s Eric Olsen who is stepping down following a scandal linked to protection money paid by LafargeHolcim to Syrian militias.

The company said the investigation had found no evidence that Olsen was either responsible or aware of the breaches, though the CEO said he would resign to draw a line under the affair, which is still the subject of an investigation by French prosecutors.   

LafargeHolcim Chairman Beat Hess said: “Jan Jenisch is a CEO who is widely respected for consistently delivering strong business results and he comes with a deep understanding of the building materials sector,”.

For Sika, the loss of its CEO comes amid a more than two years battle for independence from French building materials maker Cie. de Saint Gobain (CODGF).

The battle against Saint Gobain has been led by Sika’s chairman Paul Halg, but was supported by Jenisch whose strong performance as head of the Baar-based group did much to martial support for Sika’s independence from minority shareholders.

Jenisch will be replaced by Paul Schuler, who will be promoted from his role as head of Europe, Middle East and Africa. Schuler has been a part of Sika’s group management team for 10 years and has been with Sika for 26.

His “contributions to Sika’s success include high growth rates, significant improvements in efficiency and profitability as well as responsibility for major acquisitions,” Sika said on Monday.

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