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Wed May 12 2021

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LafargeHolcim CEO steps down

25 Apr 17 The CEO of LafargeHolcim has resigned because of tensions surrounding investigations into the company’s dealings with local armed groups in Syria.

Eric Olsen
Eric Olsen

Eric Olsen said that, although he was not involved in any wrongdoing, he felt that his departure “will contribute to bringing back serenity to a company that has been exposed for months on this case”. He will leave in mid-July, two years after taking up the role and leading the merger of Lafarge and Holcim. The search for his successor will be launched immediately.

LafargeHolcim’s board had commissioned an investigation into allegations that company personnel had engaged in dealings with armed groups and sanctioned parties during 2013 until the plant closed in September 2014. It has now confirmed that a number of measures taken to continue safe operations at the Syrian plant were unacceptable, and significant errors of judgement were made that contravened the applicable code of conduct. The board concluded that Olsen was not responsible for, nor thought to be aware of, any wrongdoings that have been identified as part of its review.

Board members expressed gratitude to Olsen for his commitment to the company for many years and for his contribution as CEO in driving the integration 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.

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In the meantime, Hess will oversee the transition period, becoming interim CEO once Olsen leaves. Roland Köhler, currently executive committee member with responsibility for Europe, Australia/New Zealand and trading, will be appointed chief operating officer.

“After two years leading LafargeHolcim, I am proud of what we have accomplished,” said Olsen. “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,” said Eric Olsen, CEO.

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