FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German food processing machinery maker GEA Group announced on Sunday that CEO Juerg Oleas would step down in April 2019 after more than a decade in office.
“By taking this step, my focus is on paving the way for an orderly succession process allowing the company to successfully further develop GEA,” Oleas, whose current term would have expired at the end of 2019, said in a statement.
Oleas became CEO in 2004, having served as a member of the executive Board since 2001.
“The supervisory board will shortly discuss any further course of action and commence the formal selection process without delay. Our goal is to appoint a successor by the end of 2018,” supervisory board Chairman Helmut Perlet said.
Activist investor Elliott Management in October revealed a 3.01 percent stake in the German firm and a person close to the fund manager said at that time that Elliott saw scope for cost cuts and that it was not satisfied by an ongoing restructuring plan.
Another activist investor Albert Frere took a 3 percent stake in GEA in August.
GEA, which has grown through a number of acquisitions in recent years, pledged this month to improve margins. The group cut its full-year earnings guidance twice last year as its cost-cutting drive did not progress as hoped.
Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Susan Fenton