Oerlikon Seeks New Chief as Buscher Leaves After 3 Years

OC Oerlikon AG said it’s looking for a new chief executive officer to replace Michael Buscher, who has led the world’s largest maker of textile machinery through a reorganization since joining in May 2010.

Buscher decided to leave and both parties agreed on a mutual termination of the contract, Burkhard Boendel, a spokesman at the Pfaeffikon, Switzerland-based manufacturer, said today by phone. The stock dropped as much as 2.8 percent.

“After three intense years at Oerlikon, he now wants to take the next step in his career and is looking for new professional challenges,” and it’s “likely in the near future” that Buscher’s new role will become clear, Boendel said.

Oerlikon’s share price more than doubled last year as Buscher, a German-born engineer, supervised divestments of slow-growing units and re-negotiating an expensive financing agreement. Buscher joined Oerlikon from the trainmaking division of Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. as the Swiss company was struggling to get a grip on its finances.

Today, the stock dropped as much as 0.35 francs to 12.3 francs in Zurich trading and was down 2.4 percent as of 9:48 a.m. The company has a market value of 4 billion francs. ($4.2 billion).

With the backing of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, Oerlikon’s largest shareholder and the world’s 44th-richest man, Buscher led a shift to more profitable businesses such as coatings for airplane and car parts. The reorganization culminated in announcement in December that Oerlikon was selling its natural-fibers and textile-components units, with an enterprise value of 650 million francs ($681 million), to Chinese investor Pan Xueping’s Jinsheng Group.

Chief Financial Officer Juerg Fedier will act as interim CEO effective immediately, Oerlikon said today in a statement.

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