Since the mid-1990s, Holcim Ltd has experienced dynamic growth highlighted by a 70% increase in revenue and increased market penetration, significantly in Asia and Latin America. This growth, combined with the increased complexity of the global economic and competitive landscape has prompted the Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd to reinforce the Group's management structure.
Executive Committee member Markus Akermann will take over from Thomas Schmidheiny as CEO of Holcim Ltd as of January 1, 2002. He will be proposed for election to the Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting on May 24, 2002. In his statement, Thomas Schmidheiny said "from next year, I will concentrate on the strategic tasks incumbent on the Chairman of the Board. By separating the functions of Chairman and CEO we, as a listed company, will also be taking account of the need for effective corporate governance." Specifically, the Board of Directors is planning to establish an Audit Committee and a Compensation Committee, in line with international standards. Thomas Schmidheiny will remain the company's largest shareholder.
In Markus Akermann, 54, the Holcim Group has an experienced, home-grown manager at the helm. He has a degree in economics from the University of St. Gallen. After several years working in finance in a major Swiss bank, Markus Akermann began his Holcim career in 1978 as assistant to a member of the Executive Committee. In 1987, he was appointed area manager and took on line responsibility for several markets in the Latin America Group region. In parallel, he devoted himself to setting up and expanding the international trading activities of the Umar Group, now Holcim Trading. With his appointment to the Executive Committee in 1993, Markus Akermann assumed responsibility for the entire Latin America Group region, which he has strengthened consistently.
Executive Committee member Urs Bieri, 58, has been appointed Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee, effective January 1, 2002. In addition to holding regional responsibilities, he will provide support to the CEO with regard to central Group functions.
The Board of Directors has also appointed area manager Paul Hugentobler, 52, to the Executive Committee from January 1, 2002. He has a degree in engineering from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and an economics degree from the University of St. Gallen. He joined the Holcim Group in 1980 and was a project manager at what is now Holcim Group Support. The Board of Directors promoted him to area manager in the Asia Pacific Group region in 1994.
The Board of Directors of Holcim Ltd has determined the following responsibilities, effective January 1, 2002:
Markus Akermann: CEO and ad interim responsibility for Latin America.
Urs Bieri: Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee and responsible for ASEAN South, the Pacific and Southern Africa
Hansueli Heé: Central and Eastern Europe
Paul Hugentobler: ASEAN North and Southern Asia
Benoît-H. Koch: North America, Western Europe, the Mediterranean and international trading
Theophil H. Schlatter: CFO
In the second half of 2002, the Executive Committee will be brought together at a central location in Zurich.
The new management structure reflects and supports the Holcim Group's strategic priorities and commitment to sustainable growth. In the words of new CEO Markus Akermann, "we will continue to grow. We will do this by means of selective, value-adding investment in new markets with significant growth and synergy potential. High cost efficiency at all levels and the innovative and customer-focused extension of the products and services we offer in our traditional segments are further key objectives for the coming years."
With majority and minority interests in over 70 countries on all continents, Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services.