ACS gains control of Hochtief’s board

Following the withdrawal of four Hochtief candidates originally seeking re-election, ACS pushed through its list for the German firm’s board of directors at yesterday’s annual shareholders meeting.

As expected, Spanish infrastructure group ACS has gained control of Hochtief’s board of directors, doubling the number of its representatives on the German firm’s board at yesterday’s annual shareholders meeting.

ACS, which now owns more than 43 percent of Hochtief after it started its takeover of the German firm last September, was widely expected to be able to push through its list of candidates given the size of its shareholding in Hochtief.

But the voluntary withdrawal of four Hochtief board members seeking re-election before yesterday’s shareholder vote made things easier for the Spanish firm.

The original board members dropped out of the race “out of concern about the continued independent performance of the legally required tasks on the supervisory board, and in full recognition of the voting rights situation,” Hochtief said in a statement.

Manfred Wennemer, former chairman of the board at Continental, is now the new chairman of Hochtief’s eight-man board of directors.

The board also includes Abdulla Abdulaziz Turki Al-Subaie, managing director of Qatar Railways; Eggert Voscherau, chairman of the supervisory board of BASF; Thomas Eichelmann, chief executive of ATON; and ACS executives Marcelino Fernandez Verdes, Angel Garcia Altozano, Pedro Lopez Jimenez and Jose Luis del Valle Perez (the first two already represented on Hochtief’s board).

Hochtief saw an exodus of senior executives in the first quarter of the year as ACS consolidated its grip on the company. The latest to resign was chief financial officer Burkhard Lohr, effective from October 18, who had been with Hochtief for nearly 20 years.

Lohr’s resignation followed the departure of chief executive Herbert Lütkestratkötter, who will be retiring as from the end of Hochtief’s general shareholders meeting. Lütkestratkötter will be replaced by Frank Stieler, the current head of Hochtief Europe, in an appointment backed by ACS.

Earlier in March, Peter Noé, also a member of Hochtief’s executive board and head of its concessions and Asia units, resigned from the firm, with effect from September 10.