Linde New CEO to Come From Outside as Reitzle Seeks No Extension

Linde AG’s next chief executive officer will probably be an external candidate as the company’s supervisory board looks to replace Wolfgang Reitzle, who will not seek to extend his contract ending in May 2014.

Supervisory Board Chairman Manfred Schneider said he searched internally and externally and has two candidates who are not currently with the gases and engineering company. Reitzle said he would stay on for a few months to ease the transition for the successor, according to an interview with him and Schneider in today’s newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Linde spokesman Uwe Wolfinger confirmed the comments.

Reitzle, who has been at the helm of Munich, Germany-based Linde since 2003, in October denied that a headhunter had been hired to find his successor, saying that it is unusual to discuss succession issues 18 months ahead of time. The CEO, who previously spent 26 years in the car industry, said he will have the chance to “reorganize his career” after he steps down.

The CEO said he will not join the company’s supervisory board immediately as there wouldn’t be “big acceptance” for an appointment. Asked if he would join the oversight board in 2016 after the two-year cooling-off period, he said that it would be the board’s decision.

Schneider will probably stay on as chairman. The supervisory board decided to first address the question of finding a successor for the CEO, the chairman said. Franz Fehrenbach, currently supervisory board chairman of Robert Bosch GmbH, is a candidate for a spot opening on the supervisory board in May, Schneider said.

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