* Lowe’s withdrew takeover proposal in September
* Lowe’s says no recent talks with Rona
* Robert Dutton has been chief executive since 1992
Nov 9 (Reuters) - Canadian home-improvement retailer and distributor Rona Inc, which earlier this year rejected a takeover offer from U.S.-based rival Lowe’s Cos Inc, said on Friday its longtime chief executive, Robert Dutton, was stepping down.
The news could signal a change in strategy at Rona, which has argued that its own turnaround plan is best for shareholders.
Shares of Rona were up 7.6 percent at C$10.06 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Lowe’s spokeswoman Chris Ahearn said there had not been any recent talks with Rona.
“Since we withdrew our proposal to work with the Rona board, there have been no further discussions,” she said.
Rona, which reported a surprise drop in quarterly profit on Wednesday, did not say why Dutton was leaving.
Lowe’s withdrew its C$1.8 billion proposal, which never made it to formal offer stage, in September in the face of opposition from Rona, politicians in the retailer’s home province of Quebec and a large group of Rona’s independent dealers.
The company said Chief Financial Officer Dominique Boies would be acting CEO and that the board has hired headhunting firm Korn/Ferry International to look for a successor.
Dutton, who joined Rona in 1977, became chief executive in 1992.