Syngenta CEO leaves in wake of Monsanto deal rejection

Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:37am EDT
 
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By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

ZURICH (Reuters) - Syngenta SYNN.VX Chief Executive Mike Mack is stepping down as head of the Swiss agrochemicals group just two months after the company spurned a $47 billion takeover approach from U.S. rival Monsanto (MON.N: Quote).

Mack, who is 55, will quit at the end of the month and Chief Financial Officer John Ramsay will take charge on an interim basis, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Shares were up 6 percent at 329.10 Swiss francs at 1520 GMT following the announcement, with traders saying the change could rekindle bid speculation.

But a source close to Syngenta said that as Ramsay is not a member of the board and is unlikely to become one, the board's attitude towards a takeover was unlikely to change.

A Monsanto spokeswoman said the company did not comment on the leadership changes at other companies and was focused on unlocking the growth opportunities in its own business.

Syngenta, the world's largest maker of pesticides has been under pressure to boost shareholder returns after rejecting the possible deal with rival Monsanto.

A group of rebel Syngenta shareholders said the change could benefit the company.

"We welcome the decision because it shows that somebody takes responsibility," said Folke Rauscher, managing director of a group calling itself the "Alliance of Critical Syngenta-Shareholders". here   Continued...

 
Agrochemicals maker Syngenta's CEO Mike Mack attends the annual news conference in Basel, February  9, 2011. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann