November 19, 2018 / 5:19 PM / 20 days ago

Panalpina's chairman to leave in May; activist had demanded he quit

ZURICH, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Swiss logistics company Panalpina said on Monday that Chairman Peter Ulber would not stand for re-election at the next annual general meeting in May.

The air and sea freight company has come under pressure to change its chairman from activist shareholder Cevian Capital, which has a 12.3 percent stake.

Last month, Cevian’s co-founder Lars Forberg told Swiss magazine Bilanz Cevian should replace its chairman and should be open to mergers.

Panalpina declined to comment on Ulber’s reason for leaving. Ulber said his decision not to stand for re-election was in the best interest of Panalpina and all of its stakeholders.

“The long term goals of the company are best served by electing an independent chairman of the board at this time to further improve on a best in class governance,” Ulber said in a statement.

Ulber has been Panalpina chairman since 2016 after a three-year spell as chief executive.

Panalpina defended its board following Cevian’s criticism, saying the Swiss company had a “robust strategy” and would participate in consolidation of the fragmented sector.

Cevian could not immediately be reached for comment.

Panalpina’s shares fell 2.6 percent on Monday, before the announcement from the company. The shares are now down about 20 percent on the year, up slightly after hitting a two-and-a-half year low in late October. (Reporting by John Miller. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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