Rexam ousts chief executive after six months

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The Independent Online
Rexam, the world's largest aluminium cans manufacturer, yesterday sacked its chief executive after only six months in the job.

Rexam, the world's largest aluminium cans manufacturer, yesterday sacked its chief executive after only six months in the job.

The board decided that Stefan Angwald, formerly of the German paper and hygiene business SCA, was "not the appropriate individual to lead the company". He joined Rexam in January as chief executive designate and took up the reins in May when Rolf Borjesson stepped up to become chairman of the group. Christopher Clark, the deputy chairman, said: "The board regrets the need to take this step but the decision has been taken in the best interests of the company."

When his appointment was announced in December last year, Rexam said Mr Angwald "clearly understood the dynamics of the manufacturing industry" and brought with him years of experience of managing multinational businesses. He ran SCA's hygiene products division, building it up into a £3.5bn business. Jeremy Lancaster, the then chairman of Rexam, said Mr Angwald had "proven leadership qualities" and was the right person to "drive the company forward into the next stages of its development". But it is understood that once set up in his role, Mr Angwald's personal style of leadership did not fit in with the company's culture.

Mr Angwald, who left immediately, could receive more than £1m for his six-month tenure. He was appointed on a salary of £550,000 on a two-year contract, to account for the costs of relocating to London from Munich. A spokesman for the company said, however, that he would not receive a lump sum from Rexam, and his salary payments would stop once he found another job. Lars Emilson, the group director of Rexam's beverage cans business, will take over from Mr Angwald.

Rexam shares fell 10.5p to 423p on the news, although the company insisted its trading performance since the half-year was still in line with expectations.

The company recently bought a Brazilian rival, Latasa, which helped lift first-half profits by 19 per cent. "The board reconfirms its view that 2004 will be another successful year for the group," Mr Borjesson said.

Rexam breached the Higgs code of conduct on corporate governance practice by promoting Mr Borjesson to chairman. But the company said the decision to sack Mr Angwald was a unanimous board decision, alleviating fears that it was the result of Mr Borjesson's influence.

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