Eric Olsen, CEO of LafargeHolcim, has resigned effective July 15, two years after taking up the CEO role and assuming responsibility for successfully implementing the merger of Lafarge and Holcim. His resignation is in response to the controversy regarding payments the company made to armed groups in Syria to ensure staff safety.
The company’s board of directors said it “wishes to express its gratitude to Eric Olsen for his commitment to the company for many years and for his invaluable contribution as CEO in driving the integration of the two companies after the merger in 2015.”
“Eric Olsen is a leader who brought together two companies to create one genuinely global champion. We are very grateful to him for his efforts,” said Beat Hess, chairman of the board of directors.
“After two years leading LafargeHolcim, I am proud of what we have accomplished,” Olsen said. “Putting this merger on track is a huge success that reflects the relentless commitment and passion of our 90,000 employees all around the world and is visible in our results momentum. Today, the group has everything it needs to successfully transform the industry and build sustainably our future world. I fully trust our teams to transform that ambition into reality. My decision is driven by my conviction that it will contribute to addressing strong tensions that have recently arisen around the Syria case. While I was absolutely not involved in, nor even aware of, any wrongdoing I believe my departure will contribute to bringing back serenity to a company that has been exposed for months on this case.”
A search for Eric Olsen’s successor will be launched immediately. In the meantime, Hess will oversee the transition period until the appointment of the new Group CEO. From July 15 2017, once Olsen leaves, Hess will become interim CEO and Roland Köhler, currently executive committee member with responsibility for Europe, Australia/New Zealand and Trading, will be appointed chief operating officer.