Sept 16 The longtime chief executive of CF
Industries Holdings Inc will retire and be replaced
internally, just as it carries out a $3.8-billion expansion, the
world's second-biggest producer of nitrogen fertilizer said on
Tony Will, 48, the senior vice-president of manufacturing
and distribution at the Deerfield, Illinois-based company, will
replace CEO Steve Wilson, 64, on Jan. 1, 2014.
The move comes after two years of record-large profits, but
at a time when CF faces pressure from an activist investor to
hike its dividend.
CF shares rose 3 percent in early trading in New York to
$199.60, in line with gains for nitrogen rival Agrium Inc
Wilson, CF's CEO for 10 years, will stay on as a director
and serve as non-executive chairman.
"There's a lot of continuity there," said Joel Jackson,
analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns, noting that Will comes from the
manufacturing side of the company with the major expansion under
way, adding "I don't know if we should expect any seismic change
at CF anytime soon."
Hedge fund Third Point LLC said in July that it had bought a
stake in CF and called for a bigger dividend.
Wilson later said he was open to ideas about how to deploy
free cash flow.
CF's succession plan may be the first in a series of changes
at the tops of North America's biggest fertilizer companies. The
chief executives of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Mosaic
Co and Agrium are all nearing possible retirement age.