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LafargeHolcim names new CFO in latest executive shake-up

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LafargeHolcim names new CFO in latest executive shake-up

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By John Miller ZURICH (Reuters) – LafargeHolcim <LHN.S> on Monday named Geraldine Picaud from French optics maker Essilor International <ESSI.PA> to replace Chief Financial Officer Ron Wirahadiraksa next year, the latest executive shakeup at the world’s biggest cement maker. Picaud will take over on Feb. 1, 2018. Wirahadiraksa, who joined LafargeHolcim from Philips <PHG.AS> in December 2015, is leaving to pursue opportunities outside the group, LafargeHolcim said, adding his exit is not linked to recent complaints over his disclosures to investors. In April, LafargeHolcim Chief Executive Eric Olsen stepped down after the cement maker admitted it paid armed groups in Syria to keep a plant operating. His replacement, former Sika <SIK.S> CEO Jan Jenisch, said Picaud’s hiring will install a restructuring expert with experience in complex global businesses. “She is the ideal person to join our executive team and drive the next phase of growth in the company,” Jenisch said in a statement. In late September, Wirahadiraksa made a financial presentation that prompted some analysts to raise concerns about his “bearish” tone as well as the lack of visibility on any potential change to strategic goals. A LafargeHolcim spokesman in Zurich said Wirahadiraksa’s exit was not linked to the sell-side conference or analyst criticism of the company’s disclosures to investors. Wirahadiraksa will help present third-quarter results on Oct. 27, LafargeHolcim said, declining to give a reason for his departure from the French-Swiss company created by a 2015 merger. Picaud, 47, is leaving Essilor as the French company grapples with EU antitrust regulators’ concerns over its planned merger with Italy’s Luxottica <LUX.MI>. She has been Essilor’s group CFO and member of the executive committee since 2011. She also sits on the board of French trainmaker Alstom <ALSO.PA>, which is merging its operations with Siemens’ <SIEGn.DE> rail unit. Trained as an auditor, Picaud is familiar with Switzerland, having worked at the Winterthur offices of commodity trading house ED&F Man.

(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Louise Heavens)
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