Foster Wheeler has approved a senior leadership succession plan under which J. Kent Masters, 50, will become the company's Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2011. It is expected that he will stand for election to the company's board of directors as soon as practicable after October 1. Umberto della Sala, 63, will continue to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer through September 30 and then will continue with the company in his ongoing roles as President and Chief Operating Officer, CEO of the company's Global Engineering and Construction Group and member of the board of directors.
As part of the leadership succession plan, Raymond J. Milchovich, 61, is expected to continue to serve as Non-Executive Chairman of the board of directors of Foster Wheeler AG through November 3. He has informed the board that he intends to leave the board on that date. The board has been actively planning for Milchovich's eventual departure and expects to announce its succession plan for Chairman on or before November 3, 2011.
Masters comes to Foster Wheeler from The Linde Group, a world-leading gases and engineering company, where he has served as a member of the Executive Board with responsibility for the operating segments Americas, the Global Business Unit Healthcare and the Business Area Merchant & Packaged Gases. He joined Linde in 2006 as a result of Linde's acquisition of The BOC Group, where he had been Chief Executive, Industrial and Special Products and a member of the board of directors.
"Kent has significant operating, technical and contracting experience -- and a demonstrable track record of successfully leading complex global organizations," said Milchovich, Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Foster Wheeler AG. "Moreover, we believe that Kent's leadership approach is a perfect fit with the cultural norms of Foster Wheeler. I know I speak for the entire board when I say that we have full confidence in Kent to drive the company to reach its full potential."
Milchovich added, "With Umberto under contract through 2013 and having spent considerable time with Kent and Umberto together, I believe that they will be an excellent team. Furthermore, I have assured both Kent and the board that I will remain available to them in the event I can help with the transition in any way."
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Masters holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master's degree in Business Administration from The Stern School of Business at New York University. He also serves on the board of directors of Rockwood Holdings, a manufacturer of chemicals and advanced materials based in Princeton, New Jersey.
Umberto della Sala joined Foster Wheeler in Milan in 1973 as a process engineer. From 1997 to 2000, he was assigned to FW USA as Vice President and General Manager of Latin American Operations and President of FW Caribe and later as commercial director. In 2000, he returned to Milan as Commercial Director of the newly formed Foster Wheeler Continental Europe Unit. He was appointed in 2001 as President and CEO of FW Continental Europe. In 2005 he was appointed as Foster Wheeler CEO Global Engineering & Construction (E&C) Group. He assumed the additional role of President and Chief Operating Officer of Foster Wheeler in 2007 and has served as the company's Interim Chief Executive Officer since October of 2010. He was elected to the Foster Wheeler board of directors in February 2011.
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