UPDATE 1-Syngenta appoints ABB CFO Demare as new chairman

Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:40am EDT

ZURICH Oct 18 (Reuters) - The world's largest agrochemicals company Syngenta AG has appointed ABB finance chief Michel Demare as its new chairman.

Syngenta, which makes products to kill weeds and bugs as well as genetically modified seeds, said Demare will succeed Martin Taylor from the next annual general meeting on April 23, 2013. Taylor had already announced he is retiring.

"We see this appointment as positive for Syngenta," said Kepler analyst Bettina Edmonston, noting that Demare had previously worked for medical products maker Baxter International Inc and Dow Chemical Co.

ABB said in a separate statement that Demare, 56, was stepping down to concentrate on his board mandates and said a successor would be announced in due course. Demare joined ABB in 2005 and acted as interim CEO for part of 2008.

Vontobel analyst Panagiotis Spiliopoulos said Demare was a loss for ABB.

"However, ABB is very well positioned to successfully execute on its strategic initiatives and achieve its 2015 targets."

Syngenta shares were up 0.6 percent at 347.1 Swiss francs at 0725 GMT, while ABB rose 0.3 percent to 18.15 francs, compared to a 0.6 percent weaker Swiss blue-chip index.