Lafarge, Holcim tap Olsen as CEO, effective when the companies merge

Olsen. Credit: ReutersOlsen. Credit: Reuters

In a move the company hopes will please jittery shareholders, the Lafarge and Holcim boards of directors announced the appointment of Eric Olsen as the future CEO of the merged companies.

Olsen is currently executive vice president of operations at Lafarge. He has dual American and French citizenship and has extensive international experience, as well as experience in driving change.

The press release notes Olsen joined Lafarge in 1999 as senior vice president for Strategy and Development, leading the integration of Blue Circle’s North American operations and restructuring cement assets.

Starting in 2001, he served as president of the North-East Cement region, and as senior vice president of purchasing. Since 2004, Olsen has served as CFO and senior vice president for Lafarge North America.

From 2007 to 2012, he served as the executive vice president of Organization and Human Resources for Lafarge, where he led the integration of the Egyptian Orascom, a major acquisition with operations in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He also led the 2012 reorganization of Lafarge with a focus on country organization around end-market segments.

“With his broad international experience and insights in key markets, (Olsen) is best positioned to lead the combined company for the benefit of employees, shareholders, and customers,” said Wolfgang Reitzle, chairman of the Holcim board and future co-chairman of LafargeHolcim. Bruno (Lafont, Lafarge Chairman and CEO) and I will support Eric Olsen in creating a new joint culture that will be the key driver for our premier competitive position.”

“Eric has been proposed as future CEO of LafargeHolcim both for his personal and professional qualities,” Lafont, the future LafargeHolcim co-chairman, added. “He has a deep knowledge of our activities, clients, and markets. He is driven, with energy and determination. He is a true leader, with the ability to bring the teams together to drive a strong value creation culture for our shareholders. I have every confidence in his ability to deliver the synergies announced and ensure the development and the success of LafargeHolcim.”

Olsen is a business graduate from the University of Colorado, Certified Public Accountant (Chicago), and holds a Master of Business Administration from HEC international business school in Paris. He is presently a board member of Cimpress N.V., chairing its compensation committee and serving as a member of its audit committee, and is the chairman of the board for the American School of Paris.