The supervisory board of AkzoNobel has announced that Hans Wijers, chief executive officer has decided to step down with effect from the annual general meeting (AGM) 2012. The board also announced the appointment of Ton Büchner as the company’s new chief executive officer, pending AGM approval. Büchner is currently president and chief executive officer of Sulzer AG.
Wijers joined AkzoNobel as a member of the board of management in October 2002, and was appointed CEO in May 2003. In his first few years, he improved the pipeline of the pharma business, focused the chemicals businesses and successfully grew coatings operations. Following these strategic changes, he led the transformation of the company by divesting its pharmaceuticals operations and acquiring ICI, effectively creating today’s AkzoNobel, a leader in coatings and specialty chemicals.
Büchner has been chief executive of Sulzer AG, a publically traded company on the Swiss Stock Exchange, since 2007. He joined Sulzer in 1994 and has held a number of operational and leadership roles across the company including the presidencies of two of its divisions—Sulzer Turbomachinery Services and Sulzer Pumps. He was also chief representative and responsible for Sulzer operations in China.