Covestro CEO to add Finance to Duties as CFO Quits

06.06.2017 -

German engineering plastics producers Covestro has announced that its chief executive officer, Patrick Thomas, will assume the position of acting chief financial officer until a replacement for Frank Lutz can be found.

Lutz, who had held the CFO job since 2014 and guided the former Bayer MaterialScience to a successful stock market flotation in September 2015, resigned abruptly last week, just days after the company’s chief commercial officer Markus Steilemann was tapped to become CEO in October 2018.

On May 24, the Covestro supervisory board announced the “unanimous” appointment of Steilemann, whose functions include marketing and distribution, along with innovation, to succeed Thomas. The British-born CEO, who joined Bayer in 2007 after previous positions at ICI, Huntsman and in private equity, has said he will step down next year after 11 years at the helm.

While the company declined to comment on the reasons for Lutz’s resignation, news agencies, citing internal sources, said the executive had hoped to be named to the job himself. Lutz, who began his career in finance, did earlier stints at German commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN – where he also served as CFO – and food retailer Aldi Süd before moving to Bayer / Covestro.

Lutz is regarded as enjoying the confidence of the financial markets. In reaction to his impending departure, the Covestro share temporarily lost ground but later bounced back.

Steilemann joined Bayer in 1999 and Bayer MaterialScience five years later. From 2013 to 2015, he headed the Polycarbonates business segment and later was appointed to the managing board, where he oversaw the Polyurethanes segment.