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LafargeHolcim set to turn the page as Collomb, Schmidheiny exit formal roles

Upon conclusion of its annual general meeting this month, LafargeHolcim Ltd. will begin a new era as the terms of Betrand Collomb and Thomas Schmidheiny—charter directors whose combined Lafarge Group, Holcim Ltd. and post-merger tenure is just short of 90 years—sunset.

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Betrand Collomb
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Thomas Schmidheiny

A Swiss national, Schmidheiny joined Holcim in 1970 as technical director of Cementos Apasco, Mexico, was appointed to the executive committee six years later, and named chief executive officer in 1978. He held the latter title through 2001 and served as chairman from 1984-2003. He was instrumental in the 2015 merger forming LafargeHolcim, creating the world’s top portland cement producer, and has served as the charter chairman. Although Schmidheiny decided not to stand for re-election in 2018, the board will recognize his nearly 50 years of service to the group by naming him honorary chairman. Among career-long recognition from around the globe, he was awarded an honorary doctorate for his services in the field of sustainable development from Tufts University, Massachusetts.

Schmidheiny’s counterpart at pre-merger Lafarge Group, Collomb, will likewise not stand for re-election to the board at this year’s meeting. A French national, he joined the Paris-based producer in 1975 and served in different management positions, including head of Lafarge North America (1985-1988), proceeding to the chairman and chief executive officer posts from 1989-2003. He held the chairman’s title until 2007, when directors named him honorary chairman. Collomb returned to Lafarge Group as a director in 2012 and was one of the producer’s six directors on the inaugural LafargeHolcim board, formed in July 2015. Among corporate and industry activities, he served as 2004-2005 chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Geneva, of which Lafarge Group was a founding member.

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Daniel Harrington