Bilfinger Appoints Ex-Osram Manager Patzak CFO Amid Shake Up

  • Axel Salzmann to leave after requesting early end to contract
  • Patzak to start at German building services company on Oct. 1

Bilfinger SE named former Osram Licht AG Chief Financial Officer Klaus Patzak as CFO, the latest in a series of management changes under new Chief Executive Officer Thomas Blades.

Patzak, 51, will replace Axel Salzmann on Oct. 1, Mannheim, Germany-based Bilfinger said in a statement on Thursday. Salzmann is leaving after less than 18 months in the job after asking for his contract to be terminated early, the building-services provider said.

“We would like to thank Axel Salzmann,” the company said. “He laid important groundwork for the repositioning of Bilfinger in complex times.”

The change comes four months after former Linde AG executive Blades was named CEO following the departure of Per Utnegaard, who resigned in April after Bilfinger scrapped its dividend and reported a widening loss. Chairman Eckhard Cordes told shareholders in May that the company is in a phase of “profound reorganization” as two boardmembers unexpectedly quit. Swedish activist shareholder Cevian Capital is Bilfinger’s largest shareholder, owning about 25 percent of the stock.

“It’s surprising that Salzmann is leaving after just 1 1/2 years,” said Marc Gabriel, an analyst at Bankhaus Lampe, who rates the stock a hold.

The company reiterated its outlook for fiscal 2016.

Bilfinger shares gained as much as 4.4 percent and traded 3.2 percent higher at 28.7 euros as of 1:28 p.m. in Frankfurt. The stock has plunged 34 percent this year.

Patzak agreed to leave Munich-based lighting company Osram in April after a clash with fellow board members about the company’s new strategy, one that was criticized by biggest shareholder and Patzak’s former employer Siemens AG.

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