Kuoni CEO steps down, boosting takeover views

Chief Executive Officer Armin Meier will step down at the end of the year, this is due to differences of opinion and a move that is likely to stoke takeover speculation.
Kuoni said that the board of directors and Meier disagreed on leadership the ongoing transformation of the company, but not on strategy. Full statement below.

The current Chief Financial Officer Max Katz will now be interim CEO, Kuoni says that it is seeking an external candidate for the executive top job.

Shares in the Swiss tour operator outperformed a rising morning market on news that the CEO will leave.

Analysts say Meier’s departure is understandable seeing the group’s recent spate of earnings target revisions and amid lingering strategic concerns.

Kuoni and CEO Armin Meier separate as per end of year


The Board of Directors of Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd. and Armin Meier, CEO of the Kuoni Group, have decided to separate, by mutual agreement, as per the end of 2007.

The background of this decision is the divergent opinion on the leadership and execution of the Group’s continuing transformation, instituted in May 2007. At no point has the overall strategy been subject of these divergences.

The Board of Directors thanks Armin Meier for his contribution to Kuoni. During the past three years, the Group successfully realised its growth strategy in the premium and specialist travel market through internal growth achievements, as well as a number of acquisitions in Europe and emerging markets.

Max E. Katz, Kuoni CFO for 12 years, will take up the role of Group Executive Board spokesman until further notice. Kuoni Group Executive Board members have decided not to stand for the CEO position.

Therefore the Board of Directors will seek an external successor. The new CEO will be appointed in the coming months.