ThyssenKrupp appoints finance boss Guido Kerkhoff as interim CEO

Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board has unanimously appointed finance head Guido Kerkhoff to serve as interim chief executive following the unexpected resignation of Heinrich Hiesinger last week.

Mr Kerkhoff “will run the company until the supervisory board has completed the structured process of finding a successor,” for Mr Hiesinger, ThyssenKrupp said in a statement on Friday. ThyssenKrupp had previously declined to name an interim chief executive, appointing a committee of three members of the management board to guide the company.

Mr Hiesinger stood down days after he had guided the company to a historic deal to merge its steelmaking business with Indian rival Tata. While the merger, which represented a strategic exit from steelmaking for ThyssenKrupp, had initially been popular with investors, criticism of Mr Hiesinger had mounted in recent months.

It had become clear ThyssenKrupp was performing better than its merger partner Tata, prompting activist investor Elliott to accuse it of giving assets away too cheaply. Investors had also expressed concerns about the pace of other reforms by management in the remainder of the group.

“The members of the supervisory board agree that ThyssenKrupp needs stability and continuity above all in order to successfully continue on the path of transformation it has embarked on,” Ulrich Lehner, chairman of the supervisory board, said on Friday.

“Guido Kerkhoff has the full confidence of the supervisory board for this.”

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