Lafarge's Lafont favors cement insider as CEO in Holcim tie-up: paper

Sat Apr 4, 2015 8:43am EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) - Lafarge LAFP.PA boss Bruno Lafont wants someone with experience of the cement industry to be chief executive in the French group's planned tie-up with Swiss peer Holcim HOLN.VX, daily newspaper Le Monde said.

The choice of CEO for what would be the world's largest cement maker is still unresolved after revised merger terms last month gave Lafont the role of non-executive co-chairman instead of chief executive as initially planned.

Lafont is due to propose a CEO candidate within the next two weeks ahead of a special May 8 shareholder meeting called to ratify the merger deal.

"For me, there should be a leader able to drive and unify the teams, a cement expert who already has good knowledge of the industry and the company, and with a true culture of value creation for shareholders," he told Le Monde in an interview published on Saturday.

Lafarge's largest shareholder, meanwhile, stressed in a separate interview the need for the CEO to have broad experience in order to nurture a new culture in the merged group.

"So it should be someone with different experience and with an international profile," Gerard Lamarche, joint managing director of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBLB.BR: Quote) (GBL), told the Financial Times.

The reworked merger proposals gave a more attractive share-swap ratio for Holcim shareholders but left the choice of CEO pending.

The revised terms have failed to satisfy Holcim's second-biggest shareholder, Russian businessman Filaret Galchev, and a source at his Eurocement holding firm said this week he wants to reopen the question of the exchange ratio.

Lafont and Lamarche each ruled out changing again the deal terms.   Continued...

Bruno Lafont, Chairman and CEO of Lafarge, reacts as he takes his seat before announcing the company 2014 annual results at a news conference in Paris February 18, 2015.  REUTERS/John Schults