6 September 2002 – Jörgan Centerman, yesterday resigned his position as CEO of debt-ridden Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB.
In a conference call chairman Jürgan Dormann said little to put in doubt the speculation that Centerman was forced out and Dormann said the decision had been made at a board meeting last Friday and was unanimous. “We want to speed up reaching the targets and improve operating performance. To do that, we have to re-inject new energy”, he said
ABB has had to renegotiate its debt repayments and undergo a drastic restructuring. Despite this, it was last week forced to sell €2.3bn of assets to rival General Electric and has returned disappointing operational performance figures.
Dormann will stand in as a CEO but refused to be drawn on whether he would be looking for a more permanent replacement.
Dormann said that under his leadership, ABB will continue to concentrate on its core activities in the fields of power and automation technologies.
“ABB will take advantage of its excellent market positions, customer relationships and sales organizations,” Dormann said. “We will energize our teams to better capitalize on these strengths, speed up implementation and increase the effectiveness in executing our strategy.”
Dormann added, “At the same time, we will work hard to rebuild investors’ confidence, with a strong emphasis on improving operational performance and transparency.”
Dormann has been a member of the ABB Board of Directors since 1998 and its chairman since November last year. He also chairs the Supervisory Board of Aventis, the pharmaceutical group he formed and refocused as Chairman of the Management Board. Aventis was formed in the cross-border merger of Rhone-Poulenc and Hoechst, the German group which Dormann restructured in his years as its CEO prior to the merger.