November 29, 2018 / 8:13 AM / 11 days ago

UPDATE 1-Ashtead CEO Drabble to step down, U.S. unit chief to take over

(Adds analyst comment, details from statement)

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Ashtead Group Plc's Chief Executive Officer Geoff Drabble will step down in May next year after almost 12 years at the helm, the British industrial equipment rental firm said on Thursday.

He will be succeeded by Brendan Horgan, currently group chief operating officer and chief executive of its U.S. business Sunbelt Rentals, effective May 1, the company said.

Sunbelt made up 87 percent of Ashtead's revenue last year.

"Geoff has been a dominant force within Ashtead and many investors will be sad to see him step down ... this has been well flagged and planned, with a strong replacement in Brendan Horgan," Jefferies analysts said.

The FTSE 100 company said Drabble, 58, will retire from the group on Nov. 30, 2019.

The firm, which rents equipment such as diggers and construction tools, said in September it would increase its share buyback programme and that it expected to beat its previous full-year profit expectations thanks to a weaker sterling. (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Gopakumar Warrier)

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