Syngenta, the world's biggest seed and herbicides group, has appointed as
chairman a former executive at rival Dow Chemical to replace Martin Taylor, who
is to step down after 13 years.
Syngenta - formed from the merger of Switzerland's Novartis
with the UK's Zeneca - has turned to a Belgian, Michel Demaré, as its chairman,
set to take office as of April.
Mr Demaré, 56, joins from ABB, where he has been chief
financial officer for 2005, and where in 2008 served a spell as interim chief
executive after the surprise departure of Fred Kindle over "irreconcilable
differences" with the Swiss engineering group's board.
Mr Demaré also worked for 18 years at Dow Chemical, the US-based
chemicals conglomerate, and one of the major competitors to Syngenta, along
with the likes of BASF, DuPont and Monsanto.
'Outstanding track records'
ABB - which said that Mr Demaré was quitting to "concentrate
on his board mandates", which also include vice-chairmanship of board at Swiss
bank UBS – said he had brought "energy and professionalism" to his post.
"He has had outstanding track records during his time at
ABB. The company's strong financial position is testimony to his achievement,"
At Syngenta, where Mr Demaré was appointed a director in
April, Mr Taylor said he was "delighted" at the appointment.
"Since his election as a director he has already made a
significant contribution to Syngenta," Mr Taylor said, adding that Mr Demaré's
international experience "makes him exceptionally well-qualified for the
Syngenta employs more than 26,000 people in more than 90
He will become only the second chairman of Syngenta, which
Mr Taylor, a former head of UK-based Barclays Bank, has chaired since its
formation in 2000.
Syngenta shares closed 0.7% higher at SFr347.30.