ZURICH, April 23 LafargeHolcim is close
to announcing that its chief executive Eric Olsen is to step
down following an internal investigation into activities at a
former Lafarge cement plant in Syria, a source familiar with the
matter said on Sunday.
The source said there would be a change in leadership at the
cement company following reports in the Financial Times and
French newspaper Le Figaro that Olsen would be stepping down,
LafargeHolcim declined to comment on the matter.
The cement maker in March said one of its cement plants
probably paid protection money to armed groups in Syria to keep
the factory running in the country.
The disclosure followed an internal investigation and
highlighted the dilemmas companies face when working in conflict
zones. LafargeHolcim is expected to announce the findings of its
internal investigation shortly.
Olsen was formerly an executive at French industrial group
Lafarge, which completed its merger with Swiss group Holcim in
LafargeHolcim has said the deteriorating political situation
in Syria had posed "very difficult challenges for the security
and operations of the plant and its employees."
The site was an important source of employment in the region
and played a vital role in supplying Syria with essential
building materials, the company said.
Sources told the Financial Times Olsen's departure terms
were still under discussion on Sunday.
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, Oliver Hirt and John
Revill. Editing by Jane Merriman and Georgina Prodhan)