SOUTH AFRICA – PPC, South Africa’s largest cement producer has confirmed the appointment of Roland van Wijnen, a former LafargeHolcim executive, as its new CEO.

Van Wijnen, who hails from the Netherlands, was originally announced as the new head of PPC at the end of June but had to wait for a valid work permit.

He will replace Johan Claassen on October 1. The search for a CEO to succeed Claassen began in November 2018 when he announced he was taking early retirement. PPC thanked Claassen for his commitment, hard work and loyalty to PPC, its shareholders, employees and customers.

Afrifocus Securities analyst Tinashe Kambadza said it looked like a good new appointment.

“PPC has had some issues with their chief executive appointments over the past few years and prior to Johan Claassen, but it looks like they have done their due diligence on this one, given that PPC is facing difficulties in its South African and African markets. The proof will be in the pudding,” said Kambadza

“We are pleased to have secured Roland, a Dutch national, whose listed company experience and exposure to international global best practice will broaden the management practices of PPC. He has a detailed knowledge of the cement sector. He is up-to-speed with our strategic imperatives and will advance the process without any delays,” said PPC chairperson Jabu Moleketi.

Van Wijnen, who worked for LafargeHolcim for 17 years, has signed a four-year contract with PPC. He was CEO of the listed Philippines business, which is similar in size to PPC.

Van Wijnen was previously CEO of some of Holcim’s Eastern European businesses between 2005 and 2010, and also acted as CEO of Holcim’s global trading business before the LafargeHolcim merger.

PPC’s board said he would be tasked with building and developing its executive team and “accelerating the process of turning PPC into a high-performance organisation that offers superior products and solutions to customers”.

PPC and other local cement producers want the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) to protect the local industry from cheap imports. The industry representative body, the Concrete Institute, said in August that Itac should impose tariffs on cement imports, the bulk of which come from Vietnam and China