Henkel Slumps as CEO to Leave; Van Bylen Named Successor

Henkel AG Chief Executive Officer Kasper Rorsted Interview

Henkel CEO Kasper Rorsted.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
  • Rorsted to leave company on April 30, before contract ends
  • Successor Van Bylen is head of beauty care businesses

Henkel AG & Co. shares plunged after the German cosmetics and adhesives maker announced the departure of Chief Executive Officer Kasper Rorsted at the end of April before the end of his contract and that he will be replaced by Hans Van Bylen, head of the beauty care business.

Kasper Rorsted
Kasper Rorsted
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

In a surprise move, the German company said in a statement Monday that the appointment of Van Bylen, 54, in April will enable him to lead “the development of the new strategy which Henkel will announce at the end of this year,” 

Shares of Henkel plunged as much as 5.1 percent and were trading 4.4 percent lower to 77.07 euros at 10.50 a.m. in Frankfurt.

Danish-born Rorsted, 53, said as recently as November that Henkel’s growth ambitions would keep him at the helm of the company until the end of 2017. The manager, who took the reins at Henkel in 2008, has regularly been linked in the German press with a move to CEO jobs at other German companies such as sportswear-maker Adidas AG and industrial gas giant Linde AG.

Hans Van Bylen
Hans Van Bylen
Source: Henkel AG & Co.KGaA

"This is bad for Henkel, although there have been rumors about Rorsted leaving
for a while," Andreas Riemann, and analyst at Commerzbank AG said by phone.
"Since Hans Van Bylen has been around for a long time, he seems to be a pretty
good choice."

The Belgian-born Van Bylen has worked for Henkel since 1984 and has been a member of the management board since 2005.

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