15 April 1996 00:00 [Source: ICB]
LURGI'S CHAIRMAN Klaus Comperl has unexpectedly retired at the age of 61 at the end of March, without a successor being named. As well as being chairman of the Frankfurt engineering group, Comperl was head of its fibres engineering subsidiary Zimmer for a considerable time.
Although Comperl's retirement has been attributed to health reasons, German reports point to differences of opinion with Kajo Neukirchen, chairman of Lurgi's parent company, Metallgesellschaft (MG) over business strategy.
Due especially to a good performance by Zimmer, Lurgi's 1995 net earnings rose to DM109m ($74m), following a net loss of DM29m in 1994. However, attempts at broadening the international base and improving efficiency through cooperation with, or takeover of, another engineering group have not been successful so far.
A member of Zimmer's managing board for 20 years, Comperl replaced Jens-Peter Schaefer, who was ousted from the Lurgi slot in 1994. Neukirchen, appointed by MG's creditor banks to turn the group around in as little time as possible, is thought to have believed Comperl's success at Zimmer made him better equipped to restructure the engineering business.
Lurgi's management under Comperl recently denied rumours that they were considering putting Zimmer up for sale (ECN 11 March).
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