AkzoNobel names Dane as new supervisory board chairman

Photo: AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel has appointed Danish national Nils Smedegaard Andersen as chairman of its supervisory board, subject to shareholder approval.

Andersen is former chief executive of Danish brewer Carlsberg and of shipping group A.P. Møller-Mærsk, also a Danish company. He will succeed former Unilever chairman Antony Burgmans, who has announced his retirement from the Amsterdam-based coatings and chemicals concern.

Burgmans clashed last year with several large AkzoNobel shareholders when he opposed various attempts to take over the Dutch company by US sector rival PPG Industries.

The angry investors went so far as to try to force Burgmans’ exit from the AkzoNobel board at the Amsterdam Company Court.

AkzoNobel was beset with problems last year. CEO Ton Büchner left the company after twice taking taking leave for health reasons. He was succeeded in the post by Thierry Vanlancker, a Belgian national. Financial director Maëlys Castella also had health problems and was replaced by Maarten de Vries.

In the meantime AkzoNobel has hived off its specialty chemicals division and has put it up for sale. Proceeds, estimated at €10bn, will largely go to shareholders in an attempt to sweeten them up after the PPG debacle.

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