June 5, 2018 / 8:34 AM / a year ago

Voestalpine CEO to step down in 2019

VIENNA (Reuters) - Voestalpine (VOES.VI) Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder will step down in the summer of 2019 after some 15 years at the helm and move to the supervisory board, the Austrian speciality steel company said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Austrian specialty steelmaker Voestalpine Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Steel division head Herbert Eibensteiner, 54, will be appointed as Eder’s successor with effect from July 3, 2019.

Eder, former chairman of the World Steel Association, is highly regarded within the industry and viewed by analysts as a major asset. The 66-year-old led Voestalpine’s transformation from a traditional steelmaker into a global specialist supplying finished parts to the automotive and aerospace industries.

He also pushed for expansion into the United States, where Voestalpine opened a $1 billion plant in 2016.

The supervisory board will recommend that Voestalpine’s shareholders elect Eder to the board in summer 2019 and make him board chairman in 2021, current board chief Joachim Lemppenau said in a phone call.

“I believe that as chair of the supervisory board Mr Eder can provide advice and support to the company much longer, as if he had extended (his CEO contract) for another two or three years,” Lemppenau said.

Voestalpine tends to fill positions internally. Designated chief executive Eibensteiner has been working for the group since 1989. A trained mechanical engineer, he has experience in mergers and acquisitions, restructuring and management, the head of the supervisory board Joachim Lemppenau said.

Lemppenau added the new CEO is expected to further internationalize the company and secure sustainable growth.

Voestalpine shares fell after the news and traded 2.5 percent down at 43.64 euros at 1058 GMT. Analysts said they do not expect any meaningful changes in the company’s strategy.

Voestalpine will publish its full-year results on Wednesday. Analysts expect it to post a 41 percent increase in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to 1.16 billion euros on sales of 12.8 billion euros.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; editing by Jason Neely and Alexandra Hudson

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