(Adds comment from LafargeHolcim chairman, details)
ZURICH, May 22 (Reuters) - LafargeHolcim has hired Sika boss Jan Jenisch to take over as chief executive at the Swiss-French building materials giant, whose previous CEO quit after the company made payments to armed groups in Syria.
Jenisch, 50, has been the CEO of adhesives maker Sika since January 2012. Paul Schuler, Sika’s regional manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will replace Jenisch at Sika.
Jenisch’s appointment is effective from Oct. 16, Lafarge Holcim said on Monday.
LafargeHolcim aims to reassure investors over its leadership after former CEO Eric Olsen announced he would leave in July, in part after an independent internal inquiry found that protection payments to keep its Jalabiya plant in northern Syria open during the civil war there violated its policies.
“Jan Jenisch is a CEO that is widely respected for consistently delivering strong business results and he comes with a deep understanding of the building materials sector,” LafargeHolcim Chairman Beat Hess in a statement.
“His agile leadership style and his personal skills will be a good fit with our company culture.”
LafargeHolcim shares were seen rising 2.7 percent in premarket indicators.
Olsen, a former Lafarge human resources manager who took over as CEO following the French company’s 2015 merger with Switzerland’s Holcim, has said he did not know of the payments to the groups amid the war in Syria.
Jenisch, a German who joined Sika in 1996, has overseen steady growth at Sika but has also been in the midst of a bitter takeover battle. The adhesives maker’s founding family is seeking to sell its controlling stake to France’s Saint-Gobain over the objections of Sika management.
Schuler, a 29-year Sika employee, has been a member of Sika group management for a decade, having led two of the company’s four business regions.
“His competent and energetic leadership style will ensure the continuation of Sika’s growth strategy,” Paul Haelg, Sika’s chairman, said in a statement. (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)