Henkel boss is possible candidate for ABB CEO - report

ZURICH Thu May 30, 2013 9:59am EDT

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's ABB (ABBN.VX) will name a chief executive by mid-June, with the head of one of its automation units and the boss of German consumer goods group Henkel (HNKG_p.DE) the front runners, a Swiss magazine reported.

The Zurich-based industrial goods group is searching for a new CEO after Joe Hogan announced unexpectedly last month that he planned to quit the company for private reasons.

Without citing sources, Swiss weekly business magazine Bilanz said ABB had narrowed its list of candidates down to Ulrich Spiesshofer, who heads its Discrete Automation and Motion (DAM) division and Kasper Rorsted, chief executive of Henkel.

A spokesman for ABB declined to comment. Henkel did not immediately comment.

Bilanz said ABB Chairman Hubertus von Gruenberg was leading the search supported by Hans Ulrich Maerki, chair of the governance and nominations committee, and would take a decision by mid-June.

Spiesshofer, a German national, joined ABB in 2005 as head of corporate development and has led its DAM division, which makes industrial robots, since 2010.

Rorsted, a Dane, has been CEO of Henkel since 2008.

ABB is banking on a global push to increase energy efficiency to drive demand for its products and has splashed out on acquisitions under Hogan to position itself for growth. But it has been hampered by the sluggish global economy in recent quarters and is pushing through cost-saving measures.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)