Integration-tested, Lafarge NA veteran Olsen to head LafargeHolcim

Sources: Lafarge Group, Paris; CP staff

Ahead of the proposed merger they aim to consummate by mid-year, the Lafarge Group and Holcim Ltd. boards have appointed Lafarge Executive Vice President, Operations Eric Olsen as LafargeHolcim chief executive officer. Officials cite his success in senior operations, finance, human resources and strategy positions, plus “deep experience of driving change … in matters of integration and organization.”

“With his broad international experience and insights in key markets, he is best positioned to lead the combined company for the benefit of employees, shareholders and customers. [Lafarge Chairman Bruno Lafont] and I will support Eric Olsen in creating a new joint culture that will be the key driver for our premier competitive position,” affirms Holcim Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle, who with Lafont will co-chair a merged entity maintaining administrative functions in France and Switzerland.

With dual American and French citizenship, Olsen is presently responsible for U.S., Brazil, Egypt and France operations. He joined Lafarge North America in 1999 as senior vice president for Strategy and Development, and led integration of Blue Circle America assets into the U.S. portfolio two years later. He served as chief financial officer from 2004 to 2007, then transitioned to Lafarge Group executive vice president posts. Early assignments included integration of the Africa, Middle East and Asia businesses under Egypt’s Orascom Cement, which Lafarge acquired in a $12.9 billion, late-2007 deal. Olsen holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, respectively, from the University of Colorado and HEC International Business School, Paris.