Invensys ceo Henriksson steps down

Reuters report that UK engineering firm Invensys (ISYS.L) has replaced its chief executive Ulf Henriksson, who last year raised the prospect of the British company being sold to the Chinese, saying its finance chief Wayne Edmunds takes over as chief executive with immediate effect.

Shares in the maker of rail signalling systems and controls for industrial plants, nuclear power stations and domestic appliances fell as much as 8 percent after the announcement, and were trading 5 percent lower at 340 pence by 1324 GMT, the biggest FTSE faller.

Henriksson, chief executive since 2005, generated headlines in November when he said China Southern Rail could buy the company at the right price.

His comments, and subsequent share price rise, forced the company to issue a statement denying it was in takeover talks.

Chairman Nigel Rudd said Henriksson had transformed Invensys, but Edmunds would lead the company through the next stage of development.

David Thomas, who has been with the company since 2002, takes over as acting finance director.

Charles Stanley analyst Jeremy Batstone-Carr said Henriksson had done a reasonable job as chief executive and had attempted to reduce the cyclicality in the business by building up the rail business in particular.

But he had also raised the possibility of a break-up of the company, he said.

“We haven’t had a profit warning so the market reaction is fairly muted, which is probably cautiously appropriate in the circumstances,” he said.

Invensys said trading for the year to end-March remained on track and it continued to expect an improved performance on a year ago.

* Nils Pratley, of the Guardian, comments that Invensys is enjoying a period of relative stability: and adds that it’s unclear why chief Ulf Henriksson has been dropped, was he just too hungry for excitement:

“Ulf Henriksson, the human dynamo of Invensysfound himself turned off today. He was dropped as chief executive despite becoming the first boss in ages to make a success of the old BTR/Siebe engineering combo.

Unfair? One can understand why Henriksson might be miffed, but he did cut a strange figure sometimes. In a newspaper interview last year he speculated on the chances of Invensys being bought by a Chinese partner. A clarification followed.

There is clearly more to his departure than that. But the episode fuelled the sense that Henriksson was too hungry for excitement – yes, even in the world of control systems. Stability has taken a long time to arrive at Invensys. Best not to risk it.


One Response

  1. Interesting post!

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