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Nestle CEO says successor to be from within firm
September 11, 2007 / 6:07 PM / 10 years ago

Nestle CEO says successor to be from within firm

ZURICH, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Nestle NESN.VX Chief Executive Peter Brabeck said his successor, due to be chosen later this month, would be drawn from within the ranks of the world’s largest food company.

“We have also considered outside candidates but we have come to the conclusion that we have the best candidates internally,” Brabeck told Swiss business newspaper Handelzeitung in an interview released ahead of the newspaper’s publication.

“The only certain thing is it will be someone from inside the company,” he added.

Brabeck said that the company’s supervisory board would choose the name of the successor from a short-list of candidates at a meeting on Sept. 20.

Nestle had identified 6 candidates, any one of whom could succeed Brabeck. “That speaks for the quality of management,” said Brabeck.

Analysts believe Nestle’s CFO Paul Polman and the head of the company’s business in the Americas, Paul Bulcke, are favourites to succeed Brabeck.

Brabeck also said it was not a requirement that Nestle’s new CEO should be Swiss or a person who had worked for the group for many years.

Nestle would probably achieve its target of 7 percent sales growth in 2007 and a total turnover figure of more than 100 billion Swiss francs ($84.46 billion) was also possible, Brabeck told the newspaper.

Turning to the group’s EBIT-margin in 2007, Brabeck said: “I do not rule out an increase of 50 basis points but I cannot commit myself.”

Nestle was not planning any major acquisitions but the company has earmarked 2 billion francs for smaller purchases such as that of Swiss water bottler HIZN.S which was announced earlier this month.

He also said the company was considering the future of Nestle’s shareholdings in U.S.-based eyecare firm Alcon ACL.N and French cosmetics group L‘Oreal (OREP.PA).

“We will examine what importance they still have for Nestle,” said Brabeck.

((Reporting by Andrew Hurst, editing by Mike Elliott; +41.44.631.7309; fax +41.44.251.0476; andrew.hurst@reuters.com))

($1=1.184 Swiss Franc) Keywords: NESTLE/BRABECK

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