Geberit Names Head of Germany and Ex-McKinsey’s Buhl as Chief

Geberit AG (GEBN), a Swiss maker of toilet flushes and bathroom piping, said 40-year-old head of Germany Christian Buhl will become chief executive, replacing Albert Baehny, who is stepping down after a decade in charge.

Buhl, a former McKinsey & Co. consultant with a PhD in financial market research, will take over from the beginning of next year, Geberit said. The Swiss national joined Geberit five years ago, heading strategic planning and then overseeing the global expansion of the AquaClean shower-toilet business. Buhl currently heads Germany, Geberit’s largest market.

The new CEO has “a broad background as a consultant in industry and a very solid, interdisciplinary education while at the same time also being very familiar with Geberit’s business and corporate culture,” Geberit said in a statement today. Baehny will remain chairman of Geberit, a position he has held since 2011.

Buhl’s ascent to the top job mirrors the rise of Swiss engineering company ABB Ltd.’s German CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer, a former Roland Berger consultant who was promoted to the top job at the age of 49 after just three years overseeing the company’s discrete automation & motion division.

The naming of Buhl comes as Geberit forecast a “demanding” business year amid contracting order volumes in Europe, where it gets the largest share of sales. Geberit will focus on the marketing of new products and its shower toilet business to win market share even as demand in most European markets outside of Germany, Switzerland and the U.K. and Ireland ebbs.

Geberit today reported full year earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and depreciation of 592.8 million francs ($674.5 million), in line with the estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, with margins within its target 25 percent to 26 percent range.

The company announced a dividend of 7.50 francs, and an intention to buyback as much as 5 percent of shares, worth an estimated 530 million francs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net Andrew Noel, Robert Valpuesta

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