Top appointments ease Rexam doubts

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The Independent Online

Jeremy Lancaster, chairman of Wolseley building products group, is to be the next chairman of Rexam, the troubled printing and packaging group announced yesterday. The chief executive's slot is to be filled by Rolf Borjesson, chief executive of the Swedish packaging company PLM.

The moves come after months of speculation ahead of the retirement later this year of Mike Woodhouse and David Lyon, currently chairman and chief executive respectively. The problems of the packaging industry have forced Rexam to make two profits warnings in the past six months and analysts welcomed the appointments as ending some uncertainty. The shares added 5p after the news broke, before falling back in line with the market to end 12p down at 378p.

Mr Lancaster, who has initially been appointed deputy chairman, is highly regarded in the City for successfully steering Wolseley through the building recession.

It now claims to be the world's largest plumbers' merchant and profits have grown from pounds 80m in 1991 to pounds 245m last year.

Mr Borjesson, who will be meeting analysts today, is more of an unkown quantity in the UK. The company he heads, PLM, was formerly a subsidiary of Sweden's Industrivaerden AB, and was floated on the Swedish market in 1995. PLM is the fourth-largest beverage packaging company in Europe.