* Marco Gadola returns after 4 years at Panalpina
* Current CEO Spalinger leaves the company
* Challenging markets require leadership qualities-chairman
(Adds detail, background)
ZURICH, Jan 4 Dental implant maker Straumann
named Marco Gadola as its new chief executive to lead
the fight against weak sales and profit in its main European
"The dental markets have become increasingly challenging,
squeezing topline and profitability," said Chairman Gilbert
Achermann who will act as CEO until Gadola takes over, following
the departure of Beat Spalinger.
"To take the organisation forward requires specific
leadership qualities and impulses at top level, and we believe
that Marco Gadola is the right person to do this," he said on
Gadola, Chief Financial Officer at logistics company
Panalpina since 2008, was previously CFO at Straumann
from 2006. He will return to Straumann by April.
Straumann said in October it would cut 150 jobs, or about 6
percent of its workforce, to boost margins amid continuing
market sluggishness as cash-strapped Europeans pared back on
non-essential dental treatment.
Sales in Europe fell 2.5 percent in the third quarter as
austerity measures weakened consumer confidence.
Major shareholder and vice chairman Thomas Straumann sold a
10 percent stake to Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC)
in November, reducing his own stake to 17 percent.
That month, the company's share price dipped below 100 Swiss
francs for the first time since 2003. It is currently nearly 70
percent off its 2007 peak.
Rival Nobel Biocare has fared even worse, hitting
an all-time low in November, and is more than 90 percent off a
high set in 2007.
Nobel Biocare named Richard Laube to replace Domenico Scala
as CEO in 2011 when several other top managers leave the
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing
by David Cowell)