CFO Matthias Zachert Jumps From Lanxess To Merck
Current Financial Chief Michael Becker to Retire in Summer
Merck KGaA received instant approval from investors as it hired Matthias Zachert, the finance chief of German specialty chemicals group Lanxess, as its CFO.
Shares in Merck gained 2.2% to €61.58 by 1534 GMT, while Lanxess stock, flat before the appointment was reported on Tuesday, slid 3.5% to €51.21.
Merck, a German manufacturer of cancer drugs and liquid crystals for flat-panel displays, said Zachert would this summer replace CFO Michael Becker, who is set to retire, confirming a report published by the monthly Manager Magazin.
Zachert is popular with market participants and last year received an award for providing the best investor relations services among CFOs in the European chemicals sector in the 2010 Thomson Reuters Extel survey.
For his part, Merck's Becker has drawn criticism for communicating poorly with analysts.
Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a note to investors in November that Merck's management had sent inconsistent signals to markets and that these were in part to blame for the stock's underperformance.
"Merck's management team has occasionally struggled in communication with the investors, which may continue to hinder any substantial re-rating," the brokerage wrote at the time.
Merck shares have lost 8% of their value over the past year, while the STOXX Europe 600 Chemicals has advanced by about a quarter.
Lanxess, the world's largest maker of synthetic rubber, said it was on the lookout for a successor to Zachert.