July 16, 2012 / 3:13 PM / 5 years ago

Gardner Denver CEO quits; shares down 12 percent

(Reuters) - Gardner Denver Inc (GDI.N) said on Monday Chief Executive Barry Pennypacker had resigned, sending shares of industrial component maker down 12 percent in morning trading.

The company, which makes compressors and vacuum products for industrial applications, also said its second-quarter results would be in line with its previous forecast.

Several analysts said they were surprised by Pennypacker's departure.

RW Baird analyst Michael Halloran said the resignation would hurt investor confidence in the stock.

Pennypacker "was the orchestrator of Gardner-Denver's transformation from a low-margin, average-growth industrial company to a higher-margin, higher-growth leading industrial company," Halloran wrote in a note to clients.

"That said, his aggressive style appeared to create conflicts between the board and some of the executive team, and management turnover has been high under his leadership," he wrote.

A Gardner Denver spokesman reached by Reuters declined to comment on the reason for the CEO's resignation.

The company said Chief Financial Officer Michael Larsen would serve as interim CEO.

The nominating and corporate governance committee of the board of directors will oversee the search for a new CEO, Gardner Denver said in a statement.

The company's shares fell $6.53 to $46.25 in morning trading, reaching their lowest level in almost two years. The company is set report its second-quarter results on Thursday.

Quincy, Illinois-based Gardner Denver warned in April of a fall in pressure pump shipments in the second half of 2012. That business represented about 13 percent of its 2011 revenue.

Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore and Nick Zieminski; Editing by Don Sebastian and John Wallace

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