Schindler Holding AG, the Swiss elevator maker, named Silvio Napoli to replace Juergen Tinggren as chief executive officer, putting a director with experience in Asia at the helm after cutting its profit target last month.
Napoli, who has led Schindler’s Asia-Pacific business since 2008, will start the new job in January, the Ebikon-based company said in a statement yesterday. His knowledge of Asian markets was one of the main reasons for the promotion, chief communications officer Barbara Schmidhauser said by phone. Napoli joined Schindler in 1994 and past positions include vice president South Asia and CEO of the Indian unit.
The incoming CEO needs to boost profitability and fine-tune Schindler’s expansion strategy after the company cut its profit forecast Aug. 13 because of costly investments in China and India. The shares dropped 5.2 percent that day. Tinggren is leaving the CEO post after two years and will join the board of directors, pending a shareholder vote in March next year.
“It’s a sensible move given the strong focus on Asian growth,” Oliver Girakhou, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux, said by e-mail. “This new appointment will accelerate the expansion in Asia-Pacific, in particular China.”
Schindler said last month that it expects profit of about 550 million francs ($604 million) to 600 million francs this year, including a 155 million-franc charge on its investment in Hyundai Elevator Co. That compared with an earlier forecast of as much as 790 million francs. Second-quarter profit fell 78 percent to 40 million francs.
The Swiss company will start production at the world’s largest escalator plant in Jiading, China, at the end of this year, and will expand output in India, Slovakia and the U.S.
Schmidhauser said Tinggren’s move to the board of directors is not unusual, even if he only became CEO in Oct. 2011.
“It’s not surprising, it’s a tradition within Schindler that a leadership handover takes place every five to seven years,” she said, adding that Tinggren has been president of the elevators and escalators business, Schindler’s main operating unit, since 2007.
“It would be a different if Tinggren was leaving the company, but he’s still staying on the board,” Christian Arnold, a Bank Vontobel analyst in Zurich, said by phone. “Schindler aims to make the board younger and they announced this a couple of months before Tinggren leaves, so that Napoli could be involved in the budget process for next year.”
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Schindler rose 0.4 percent to 137.20 francs at 10:29 a.m. in Zurich. The stock has risen 4.1 percent this year, trailing the Swiss Market Index, which is up 18 percent. The company has a market valuation of 15.8 billion francs.
Thomas Oetterli, who took over responsibility for group operations in China in April, will report directly to Napoli.
On the board of directors, Tinggren will join Chairman Alfred Schindler as an executive director. Tinggren’s new board role will be a “full time job”, Schmidhauser said.
Schindler, who was CEO before Tinggren, built up the elevator-maker with acquisitions throughout the 1990s from Russia to Brazil. He bulked up to prevent his family-controlled firm from being taken over like Otis Elevator Corp., which was bought by United Technologies Corp.
The Schindler and Bonnard families, along with related parties, hold 70 percent of the voting rights in the company.