Lanxess Renews CEO’s Contract Early
The supervisory board of German specialty chemicals and plastics producer Lanxess has renewed the contract of CEO Matthias Zachert for an additional five years, a full year before the contract was due to expire. His new term will begin on Apr. 1, 2019.
“Under the management of Matthias Zachert, Lanxess has undergone a fundamental change and is back on track for success,” said supervisory board chairman, Rolf Stomberg, By renewing his contract, early, Stomberg said the board is “underlining its confidence” in its chief executive and “sending a signal of continuity,”
Zachert served as chief financial officer of Lanxess from its spin-off from Bayer in 2004 until he left to take up the same position at Merck KGaA. He returned to the Cologne-based chemical company in May 2014 following the departure of then-CEO Axel Heitmann, which at the time was read as an attempt by the supervisory board to stem the flow of red ink.
The news that Heitmann – CEO since the company’s founding – would step down came shortly after the company announced it would take an impairment charge on its sagging synthetic rubber business and likely incur a loss in 2014. The ex-chief later fought with his former employer over the terms of his exit.
As CFO, Zachert played a key role in establishing Lanxess’ globally oriented financial organization and restructuring the portfolio, the company noted when announcing the early contract renewal. Under his leadership, the rubber business was restructured and brought into a joint venture, Arlanxeo, with Saudi Aramco.
Riding on higher selling prices for its products and in particular the 2017 takeover of Chemtura, Lanxess posted its best-ever quarterly result in Q1 2018. This, it said, was achieved despite adverse currency movements. The company has now raised its financial guidance for the full year and said it expects EBITDA pre-exceptionals to improve by 5-10% against 2017.