The chief executive of Dutch paint and chemicals maker AkzoNobel has stepped down because of health reasons, the company announced this morning.
Ton Buchner will no longer be boss of the owner of the Dulux paint brand with immediate effect, with former head of specialty chemicals Thierry Vanlancker taking on the role.
In recent weeks Buchner has successfully steered AkzoNobel through a takeover battle with PPG Industries. Three approaches were made by the firm, with a €27bn deal offered.
The US firm had tried to force out Antony Burgmans, chairman of the AkzoNobel board, to clear the way for a takeover. Shareholders led by hedge fund Elliott Advisors lost a legal challenge to allow a shareholder meeting to vote on the plan.
Buchner said the decision to leave had been "extraordinarily difficult". He has been head of AkzoNobel since 2012. The company credited him with a "significant" improvement in company performance, with profitability and cash flow both reaching record levels under his watch.
Burgmans said: “It is with great regret that Ton is stepping down due to health reasons. He has been an outstanding leader for AkzoNobel, transforming the company and setting it up for future success."
"I wish Ton well and hope he is now able to focus fully on his own health."
Belgian Vanlancker joined AkzoNobel last year from a spun-off subsidiary US chemicals giant DuPont, Chemours, where he was president of fluoroproducts. His career at DuPont started in 1988, where he progressed through the ranks, with senior roles including vice-president of performance coatings and business manager of refinish systems across Europe, Middle East and Africa.