'Safe pair of hands' Salmon takes helm at Cookson

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Cookson, the engineering group which staved off collapse with a £277m rescue rights issue two years ago, has appointed a former vice-president of the crisis-ridden French engineering group Alstom as its chief executive.

Cookson, the engineering group which staved off collapse with a £277m rescue rights issue two years ago, has appointed a former vice-president of the crisis-ridden French engineering group Alstom as its chief executive.

Nick Salmon, who was head of strategy, mergers and acquisitions and marketing at Alstom, will take over from Stephen Howard, who announced his departure from Cookson last month.

Mr Salmon, 52, will be returning to the UK after four years at Alstom having earlier been the chief executive of Babcock International, which he turned from an underperforming conglomerate into a focused support-services company.

Industry observers welcomed his appointment as the arrival of a "safe pair of hands" after Cookson's ill-timed acquisition spree under Mr Howard.

Sandy Morris, an analyst at ABN Amro, said: "No one is after a visionary for this company. He is a good, solid chief executive, and we veterans of this industry have a great deal of respect for him."

Mr Salmon's appointment was said to have been clinched by his reputation for motivating staff. Cookson has undergone two years of disruptive restructuring after its electronics markets collapsed.

Bob Beeston, the chairman of Cookson, said: "He has very extensive international experience at a corporate and strategic level, as well as on the operational front. And he has good first-hand experience of the Asia-Pacific region - our most important growth market."

Mr Salmon will take over on 19 July while Mr Howard will stay on until the end of the year to ensure a smooth handover. The company is looking for a head for its core electronics division.

Cookson also yesterday appointed Jan Pieter Oosterveld, a retired director of Philips, the Dutch electronics giant, as a non-executive.

Comments