AkzoNobel announced today that CEO Ton Büchner has stepped down with immediate effect because of health reasons.
The company has named Thierry Vanlancker as his successor. Büchner joined AkzoNobel in 2012 and has been responsible for significantly improving the performance of the company, increasing profitability and cash flow to record levels, supervisory board chairman Antony Burgmans says. He also put in place the strategy to split the company into two focused businesses; paints and coatings and specialty chemicals.
In September 2012, Büchner took temporary leave of absence after being diagnosed with fatigue, but returned in December that year after a full recovery. More recently he was under pressure from activist shareholders over the company’s handling of the PPG takeover approach, which may have contributed to his latest health problems.
Vanlancker joined AkzoNobel in 2016 and was most recently head of specialty chemicals. Prior to joining AkzoNobel, Vanlancker, a Belgian national, was president, Fluoroproducts for Chemours, the spin-off from DuPont’s chemical businesses, formed in 2015. “In Thierry Vanlancker we have an outstanding executive who is well placed to continue building momentum for the company,” Burgmans says.
Vanlancker joined DuPont in 1988 and held a number of senior positions both in Europe and the United States, including vice-president performance coatings and business manager of refinish systems/Europe, Middle East, and Africa. A successor for head of AkzoNobel specialty chemicals will be announced in due course.
By Natasha Alperowicz
Source: Chemical Week
France has launched an offshore green hydrogen production platform at the country’s Port of Saint-Nazaire this week, along with its first offshore wind farm. The hydrogen plant, which its operators say is the world’s first facility of its type, coincides with the launch of another “first of its kind” facility in Sweden dedicated to storing hydrogen in an underground lined rock cavern (LRC).
The project sets up the Hydrogen Valley in Rome, the first industrial-scale technological hub for the development of the national supply chain for the production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen for the decarbonization of industrial processes and for sustainable mobility.
At first glance, hydrogen seems to be the perfect solution to our energy needs. It doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide when used. It can store energy for long periods of time. It doesn’t leave behind hazardous waste materials, like nuclear does. And it doesn’t require large swathes of land to be flooded, like hydroelectricity. Seems too good to be true. So…what’s the catch?