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Henkel names finance chief Carsten Knobel as next CEO

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Published
today Oct 24, 2019
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German consumer goods company Henkel named Chief Financial Officer Carsten Knobel as its next chief executive, replacing Hans Van Bylen after a string of poor results for the maker of Schwarzkopf shampoo, Dial soap and Persil detergent.


Carsten Knobel - Reuters


The company said on Thursday that Knobel would take over from Jan. 1, acting within hours of a Manager Magazine report that a committee representing its founding family had started looking for candidates to replace Van Bylen, whose contract runs until the end of April 2021.

The magazine had named Knobel as one of two internal candidates - the other being Jan-Dirk Auris, who runs Henkel’s adhesives business. Van Bylen, who leaves by mutual agreement, will serve until the end of the year. The company will appoint a new CFO at a later date.

Henkel cut its full-year outlook in August after posting its first fall in sales in a decade as the popularity of its beauty products waned and weaker industrial production hit its adhesives business.

Asked back then whether he had the full support of the Henkel family, Van Bylen declined to answer directly, but said: “Henkel is not in a crisis,” he told journalists. “We have a strategy that is working.”

Analysts have suggested Henkel should consider selling or spinning off its struggling beauty business but the founding family, which owns around 60% of the company’s voting shares, is seen as unlikely to take such a radical step.

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