Elliott Management chief Paul Singer has many ways of getting what he wants, and these are often also ways of eliminating pesky corporate executives and directors who stand in his way. He can launch a proxy battle, send his holographic army into the field, spend unspeakable amounts of money on legal challenges, channel Dan Loeb in order to provoke those enemies into suicidal errors, or silently suggest the aforementioned in otherwise cordial-seeming letters to executives who may not wish to suffer those slings/arrows.
The current object of Paul Singer’s ire and dogged determination is Akzo Nobel. The hedge-fund manager thinks it’d be a great idea if the company got around to selling itself to PPG and also have security escort its chairman of the board out of the building. Akzo Nobel has, to date, done neither, and is instead planning to spin off its chemicals business, which Singer thinks is a tremendously bad idea. And he’s not been shy about saying so, or going to court to force Akzo to give shareholders a vote on firing said chairman, or going to the press to lambaste Akzo and its chairman, and generally making life miserable for everyone associated with the company. And none more so than Akzo’s CEO, who is now Akzo’s former CEO because he literally couldn’t take it anymore.
Akzo didn’t disclose the details of Mr. Büchner’s health issues, but said the executive believed that he would “endanger” his health if he continued in the role….
Thierry Vanlancker, the head of Akzo’s chemicals business, has been appointed as the company’s new chief executive, and said he has no plans to divert from the current strategy.
We hope Vanlacker does plan to hire a whole team of medical experts to keep him going through what is likely to be a long and very ugly slog.