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Experience tells as ex-Rexam FD becomes CEO

Rexam has suffered in the past few years as demand has
tailed off across many of its territories. It cut its capacity in Europe, while
two of its large manufacturing plants in the US and Russia have been closed
down. Plans are also in place to shed 10% of its headcount.

Joining Rexam in 2003 after finance roles at gases company BOC (since sold to
Linde) and GKN, he spent two years in the FD role before moving to oversee the
company’s plastics division. It was a somewhat unusual route for a group FD to
make a downward move into a divisional role, but Chipcase’s remit while there
was to drive a series of large acquisitions and grow its breadth. This spread of
finance management and operational nous has held him in good stead for the CEO
job.

As CEO, Chipcase is tasked with controlling cost and leading the downsizing
of the business, something his financial background places him well for. But
equally important, he will have to keep one eye on growth – something his most
recent role within Rexam as head of its plastics division will be a help with.

Given Rexam’s problems, Seymour Pierce analyst Kevin Lapwood says Chipchase’s
new job is a “poisoned chalice”, but said he believes his stint driving the
plastics division makes him the right man for the job. “He has been grappling
with the problems in the plastics division for a couple of years,” says Lapwood.
“At least he knows what to expect.”

Rexam chairman Peter Ellwood said Chipcase was the right choice because “He
knows Rexam and its people well through his operational and financial roles”. He
added that he had “demonstrated the leadership skills to take our company
forward”.

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