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Nuplex names Boral executive Severin as CEO, replacing long-serving Hirst

Thursday 4th February 2010

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Nuplex Industries named Boral Ltd. executive Emery Severin as CEO, replacing long-serving John Hirst and marking the completion of a changing of the guard at the specialty chemicals maker.

Severin, a 53-year-old with a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Oxford University, was previously president of Boral Industries, based in Atlanta, Nuplex said in a statement. Hirst will retire at the end of June after 43 years with the company, including nine as CEO.

Among others to depart in the past two years were chief financial officer Graeme Storey and Fred Holland, who retired after 40 years with the company, including 12 as chairman.

Last year was Nuplex’s annus horribilis, with the company forced to sell shares at a discount and renegotiate its funding lines as a strong kiwi dollar stoked the value of overseas debt and demand for its products dwindled. Following the refinancing, Nuplex’s gearing fell to less than 19% from 49% in June 2008.

Underlining the company’s recovery, Nuplex last month said it made a record first-half profit and lifted its full-year forecast. The shares have climbed 10% this year, while the NZX 50 slid 4%.

Hirst steered the company’s global expansion, including its acquisition of the Akzo Nobel coating resins business. He will be retained as a consultant upon his retirement.

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