Akzo Nobel Chief Quits Over Health

By Ben DummettFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Dutch paint giant Akzo Nobel NV said Wednesday its chief executive has resigned for health reasons, though the unexpected move won't slow its plan to spin off its chemicals business to appease shareholders after it rejected a $28 billion takeover bid from U.S. rival PPG Industries Inc.

Ton Büchner's decision comes after a monthslong battle to fend off both PPG's takeover attempt and an aggressive legal and public relations campaign led by Elliott Management Corp., a U.S. activist investor and one of Akzo's largest shareholders, to try to push the company into sale talks.

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Akzo didn't disclose Mr. Büchner's health issues, but said the executive believed that he would "endanger" his health if he continued in the role.

"This is a very recent development; this is not about weeks ago, but is about days ago," Chairman Antony Burgmans told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

Akzo is in the process of spinning off its specialty chemicals business from its paints and coatings operations, either through an initial public offering or a sale. The Amsterdam-based company is under pressure from shareholders to complete the deal, after promising such a move would generate more value than selling itself to PPG.

Thierry Vanlancker, the head of Akzo's chemicals business, has been appointed as Akzo's new chief executive and said he has no plans to divert from the current strategy.

Write to Ben Dummett at ben.dummett@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2017 04:00 ET (08:00 GMT)