Brenntag CEO Steve Holland leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After almost nine years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Holland
  • Search for a successor
  • Holland said 111 words

(exechange) — Essen, Germany, March 6, 2019 — Steve Holland, chief executive of Brenntag, leaves. As announced by Brenntag AG in an ad-hoc statement and in a news release on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Steven E. (Steve) Holland, Chief Executive Officer, leaves the global market leader in chemical distribution after almost nine years in the role, effective in February 2020.

Brenntag will undertake a search for a successor.

Long goodbye

It is a long goodbye. The announcement of Steve Holland’s move comes up to 12 months prior to his planned departure from the post of CEO.

In general, a top executive who announces the departure very early may be considered a lame duck.

Lengthy lead times give boards extra time to find replacements, and they also create uncertainty. Would-be successors may jockey for attention and workers may wonder who is actually in charge.

Generally speaking, lame-duck leaders can take a forceful role in selecting a successor and are not expected to launch major shifts.

“It’s the right time”

Steve Holland’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Steven Holland said: “2020 is the start of a new decade and I believe it’s the right time for new leadership to take Brenntag forward into new areas of growth and success.”

Precise information regarding Steve Holland’s future plans was not immediately available.


Brenntag said: “Steven Holland (61), Chief Executive Officer of Brenntag AG, the global market leader in chemical distribution, informed the Chairman of the Supervisory Board today that he has decided he will retire after nine years as CEO when his current contract ends in February 2020 and he will not be available for an extension of his contract.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Brenntag AG’s share price of 24 percent since April 2015.

Chaired by Stefan Zuschke

Brenntag AG is chaired by Stefan Zuschke.

Since March 3, 2010, Zuschke is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. He is currently the Chairman of the Presiding and Nomination Committee.

Stefan Zuschke is an independent management consultant and has been working as managing director at Apollo 5 GmbH, Starnberg, since the beginning of October 2018.

From 1993 to the beginning of July 2018, he worked for BC Partners and was most recently Managing Director of BC Partner Beteiligungsberatung GmbH.

In the position of CEO since 2011

Steven Holland has been the Chief Executive Officer of Brenntag AG since June 22, 2011 and serves as its Member of Management Board.

Steven Holland joined Brenntag in June 2006 following the acquisition of Albion Chemicals, a leading National Chemical Distributor based in the UK.

His career extends over thirty years in Chemical Manufacturing and Distribution.

He began his early career in research and development within water treatment, surface coatings and specialty polymers.

In 2007 Steven Holland was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Brenntag European business and joined the Group’s Management Board.

He further increased his overall responsibilities within the Group in October 2009 when he became Chief Operating Officer for Brenntag’s worldwide operations.

In June 2011 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Brenntag Group.

Steven Holland is based in the Company’s Headquarters in Germany but maintains his London home with easy access to international destinations.

In the newly formed Management Board Steven Holland is responsible for the Latin American region in addition to his existing responsibilities.


As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step down with no successor in place, it’s a signal that the move was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the likelihood that a manager was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.

exechange reached out to Brenntag and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 10.2019 ($).