Philips Lighting Head Provoost Leaves to Lead Rexel Next Year

Royal Philips Electronics NV said Rudy Provoost is leaving as head of the lighting unit to join French electrical equipment retailer Rexel SA (RXL), where he will succeed Chief Executive Officer Jean-Charles Pauze next year.

Provoost, 51, will join Rexel’s management board in October and will take the position of Pauze, 63, as chairman of the panel when the company releases 2011 earnings in February 2012, Paris-based Rexel said in a statement today.

The departure of the Provoost from Philips comes a month after the Dutch maker of electronics came under the new leadership of Frans van Houten. Provoost had led the lighting unit three years, overseeing a division that is the world’s largest in its field and had sales of 7.6 billion euros ($12.27 billion) in 2010. At Rexel, he will take the helm of a company that sells switches, lighting, cables and climate control, with 12 billion euros of revenue last year and about 28,000 people.

Provoost’s “global experience in the electrical industry will be a strong asset for Rexel,” the company said. Pauze, who has been leading the company since 2002, “has committed to remain at the disposal of the group through the end of 2012 to ensure a smooth transition.”

Prior to taking over the lighting unit, Provoost had headed the Amsterdam-based company’s consumer electronics division from 2004 to 2008. The Belgian national, who holds degrees in psychology and business administration and management from the University of Gent, started his career with Procter & Gamble Co. in 1984, and has held various positions at Canon Inc. (7751) and Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) before joining Philips in 2000.

Pauze has expanded Rexel, the world’s largest distributor of electrical equipment, through more than 30 acquisitions since he joined the company as CEO in 2002. Deals included two major purchases, that of GE Supply, renamed Gexpro in 2006, and most of Hagemayer NV’s European activities in 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois De Beaupuy in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at

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