The resignation of Marie-Christine Lombard left TNT leaderless at the most difficult point in the UPS takeover process. When the European Commission killed any hope of a takeover at the beginning of this year, TNT was more than ever in need of strong leadership as it faced an uncertain future on its own. The company’s Supervisory Board has finally addressed the issue, announcing the appointment of Tex Gunning as CEO, effective 1 June. In the meantime, former CFO Bernard Bot will continue as interim CEO, returning to his CFO role when Mr. Gunning takes over in June.
The choice of Tex Gunning appears to have been made on the basis of his general business experience and his track record of turning around troubled companies, rather than on a history in the express industry (although he does currently sit on TNT’s Supervisory Board). Here is what TNT had to say about him when the announcement was made:
- “Tex Gunning (age 62) has been a member of AkzoNobel’s Board of Management and Executive Committee with responsibility for Decorative Paints since 2009. During this tenure, Tex played a crucial role in the integration of ICI’s paints activities, resulting in substantial synergy savings. He also oversaw the turnaround of Decorative Paints in North America, substantially restructured the European activities and grew the business significantly in other markets.
- “Prior to AkzoNobel, Tex was CEO of Vedior, which he successfully merged with Randstad in 2008. Tex’s career also includes more than 25 years with Unilever.
- “Tex’s extensive business experience and track record in successfully turning around businesses and delivering results make him the ideal candidate in this critical time for the company. He is also an inspiring leader and we look forward to Tex stepping into his new role and helping the company realize its improvement plans.”
TNT’s European operations are reasonably strong, but given the company’s problems in China and Brazil, and the general weakness of the European economy, Mr. Gunning will have a tough job. We wish him, and all at TNT Express, the best for the future.