Vestas boss replaced as losses multiply
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Vestas has replaced its chief executive, after net losses at the wind turbine manufacturer increased more than sevenfold to euros 62m (pounds 53m).
Ditlev Engel's job at the top of one of the world's most significant renewable energy businesses has been given to Anders Runevad who is currently a regional boss for the Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson.
Shares in Vestas leapt 12% in early trading on the Copenhagen stock exchange even though the Danish company, which has a research base in the Isle of Wight, reported worse than expected losses for the three-month period.
Vestas and Engel have been under fire from angry investors after shares plunged on the back of profit warnings as the company struggled with production problems, overexpansion and a downturn in expected orders.
The past six months has seen a bounceback in the share price after a series of cost-cutting measures but the latest deficit, together with a 26% slump in revenues, reinforces the scale of its underlying problems.
Last year the chairman and a number of board members and senior executives stepped down, leaving Engel as the sole leadership survivor.
"It is the appropriate time to make this change," said new chairman Bert Nordberg, a former president of Sony Ericsson. "The company is entering a new phase where we want to realise our growth potential, and I am confident that Mr Runevad has the right experience to lead the company. The restructuring programme has resulted in a more competitive company."
Runevad will arrive on 1 September and the business will in the meantime be run by its finance director, Marika Fredriksson, whose predecessor was sacked last year for allegedly instigating a series of deals in India without board approval.
Vestas was talking about extending its operations in the UK by building a production plant at Sheerness in Kent to make a new generation of larger turbines to suit future North Sea wind farms.
The plan was dropped last summer amid general cutbacks in the company's ambitions. Vestas had already closed its sole UK blade-making facility in the Isle of Wight in 2009, in a hail of controversy.
The scaled-down group said yesterday its better prospects meant it would no longer sell a tower factory in Colorado. A recent research note from HSBC argued that "Vestas is ideally positioned to benefit from global wind demand growth".
Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas will be led by Anders Runevad, a telecoms boss Photograph: Carla Gottgens/Getty
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