September 27, 2018 / 11:00 AM / in a month

Exclusive - Siemens Gamesa shareholders agree on new CFO to end board battle

MADRID (Reuters) - Siemens Gamesa’s (SGREN.MC) top shareholders have agreed to name a new chief financial officer at the world’s largest wind turbine maker in a bid to end a one-year board battle, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: A model of a wind turbine with the Siemens Gamesa logo is displayed outside the annual general shareholders meeting in Zamudio, Spain, June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Vincent West /File Photo DFB RULES PROHIBIT USE IN MMS SERVICES VIA HANDHELD DEVICES UNTIL TWO HOURS AFTER A MATCH AND ANY USAGE ON INTERNET OR ONLINE MEDIA SIMULATING VIDEO FOOTAGE DURING THE MATCH.

They have settled on David Mesonero, currently Siemens Gamesa’s managing director of corporate development, strategy and integration, as the new CFO.

Siemens (SIEGn.DE), which owns 59 percent of the firm, and Iberdrola (IBE.MC), which holds a 8 percent stake, have had a difficult relationship ever since they merged Gamesa and Siemens Wind Power in April 2017, disagreeing on everything from how the business should be run to board appointments.

FILE PHOTO: The Siemens Gamesa logo is displayed outside the company headquarters in Zumudio, near Bilbao, Spain, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Vincent West/File Photo

Since the merger, Siemens Gamesa’s shares have tumbled more than 48 per cent as it repeatedly cut its profit forecasts despite overtaking Danish rival Vestas last year to become the world’s biggest wind turbine maker in terms of sold turbine capacity.

The wider industry has suffered from stiff competition and a winding down of state subsidies, but Vestas’s (VWS.CO) shares have fallen by just 24 percent during the same period.

Siemens and Iberdrola will back Mesonero’s appointment as new CFO at a board meeting set for October 16, the sources said.

“The fact that Siemens is not blocking the appointment of Mesonero is the proof that both groups have reached a deal after months of clashes,” said one of the sources.

Iberdrola and Siemens Gamesa declined to comment. Siemens declined to comment on the appointment but said in an emailed statement it was committed to delivering on the cost savings and growth targets laid out in Siemens Gamesa’s strategic plan.

While Mesonero, who is the Iberdrola’s chairman’s son-in-law, is close to the Spanish utility, he was a strong advocate of the merger between Gamesa and Siemens Wind Power in 2017 and is considered to be a compromise candidate.

Mesonero led the merger talks between Gamesa and Siemens Wind Power and has been in charge of the integration of the two companies.

His appointment was made possible by a deal made by Siemens and Gamesa at the time of the merger that the Spanish power company would have the right from October 3 to name the CFO and Siemens would not oppose it unless there was “material aspects for refusal.”

Reporting by Andres Gonzlaez. Additional reporting by Alexander Huebner; Editing by Julien Toyer and Adrian Croft

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