AkzoNobel nominates Frenchman as its next CEO

AMSTERDAM – AkzoNobel, the Dutch paints and coatings giant, has asked Frenchman Gregoire Poux-Guillaume to be its next CEO to succeed Thierry Vanlancker, who has led the multinational since 2017 and widened its geographic footprint.

Poux-Guillaume, 52, vows to build on the progress realized by Vanlancker. AkzoNobel shareholders will vote on his nomination in September.

The leadership change comes at a sensitive time. AkzoNobel has encountered weak demand in China and Europe and recouped rising raw material costs through higher prices.

AkzoNobel’s marine, protective, and yacht coatings include International (Interlux in North America) and Awlgrip. Poux-Guillaume (photo) has held senior positions in the last 25 years at Sulzer, GE Grid Solutions and CVC Capital Partners.

AkzoNobel’s supervisory board chairman Nils Smedegaard Andersen said, “We’re happy and confident to have found the best match for AkzoNobel to continue our position as a frontrunner in our industry.”

Poux-Guillaume’s appointment must be approved by AkzoNobel shareholders.

Vanlancker became CEO in 2017, shortly after Akzo Nobel held off a €26 billion takeover by US rival PPG Industries. In 2018, he sold AkzoNobel’s chemicals division for €10 billion. He distributed the proceeds to shareholders and made AkzoNobel a more focused, competitive company.

AkzoNobel is active in more than 150 countries. Vanlancker has acquired companies in North America, Europe, and Africa in recent years.