Kley to Replace Wenning as EON Supervisory Board Chairman

  • Merck KGaA CEO Kley to leave company at the end of April
  • Kley restructured German drugmaker over nine-year tenure

Merck KGaA Chief Executive Officer Karl-Ludwig Kley will replace Werner Wenning as chairman of the supervisory board of EON SE after the company’s annual general meeting on June 8, EON said.

Kley will leave Merck KGaA at the end of April, EON, Germany’s largest utility, said Wednesday in a statement.

Karl-Ludwig Kley

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Kley has led the German drugmaker for almost nine years. During that time, the company hasn’t launched any new medicines. Kley diversified Merck by buying pharmaceutical equipment maker Sigma-Aldrich Corp. for $17 billion last year and AZ Electronic Materials SA for $2.6 billion the year before. Sigma-Aldrich was the biggest acquisition in the company’s history.

Under Kley’s tenure as CEO, Merck’s stock price rose 59 percent, which compares with a gain of 32 percent on Germany’s benchmark DAX index in the same time period.

Kley told Manager Magazin in an interview last year that he would accept an offer by Deutsche Lufthansa AG to elect him as supervisory board chairman if he were asked to take the job. Kley had been Lufthansa’s chief financial officer before joining Merck. He also held executive positions at Bayer AG, the biggest publicly traded drugmaker in Germany.

(An earlier version of this story corrected the company’s name to Merck KGaA.)

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