UPDATE 1-AkzoNobel CEO to return from medical leave

Mon Dec 3, 2012 4:48am EST

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AMSTERDAM Dec 3 (Reuters) - AkzoNobel said its chief executive will return to work from medical leave this week and update investors on his strategy for the world's leading paints maker on February 20 in conjunction with the fourth-quarter results.

The 47-year-old Ton Buechner, who took over as chief executive of the Dutch group in April, went on leave in early September, citing exhaustion, and had to postpone giving his strategy update to the capital markets.

Shares in AkzoNobel, which also makes performance coatings for cars, aircraft and ships, have fallen sharply on uncertainty over whether Buechner would return to his job.

The stock, which hit a 2012 high of 49.07 euros on Sept. 17, initially rose more than 1 percent to trade at an intraday high of 45.21 euros on news that Buechner would return to work on December 7. The stock traded down 0.2 percent at 43.88 euros at 0946 GMT on Monday.

"It's very good to hear he is back and he can present to the capital markets," Fabian Smeets, analyst at ING, said.

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