Linde CEO, CFO to Leave After Praxair Merger Talks Ended

Wolfgang Buchele

Wolfgang Buchele.

Photographer: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images
  • Finance chief said to have led opposition to consolidation bid
  • Denoke to be replaced during interim by head of treasury

Linde AG Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Buechele will leave the company when his term ends in April following the collapse of merger talks with Praxair Inc. Financial chief Georg Denoke, blamed by people familiar with the matter for undermining the deal, is departing immediately.

Buechele told the supervisory board he isn’t available for another term, the Munich-based company said in a statement today. In a separate statement, the company said Denoke “will leave the management board of Linde AG, effective today.” His duties in the finance department will be assumed on an interim basis by Sven Schneider, who is head of group treasury until a successor has been appointed, the company said.

Linde and Praxair had been in talks since mid-August on a combination that would have ranked as the biggest deal so far in a wave of industry consolidation triggered by French rival Air Liquide SA’s takeover this year of Airgas Inc. for $13 billion including debt. Denoke was opposed to the move to combine with Praxair, people familiar with the situation have said.

After tumbling 7 percent Monday in the wake of the deal’s failure, Linde shares added 5.1 percent to 145.50 euros as of 5:15 p.m. in Frankfurt.

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