Ueli Roost has resigned as both chairman of the technology company, Sulzer, and as boss of its majority-owned medical technology unit, Sulzer Medica. In a statement on Monday, Roost said he was stepping down with immediate effect from his responsibilities at both companies.
His resignation comes at a time when Sulzer is trying to ward off a hostile takeover bid from InCentive Capital, owned by the financier, Réné Braginsky.
Roost said he was strongly identified with the failed merger last year between Sulzer and Sulzer Medica and that InCentive Capital could use him as a weapon in its bid to acquire Sulzer.
InCentive's move aims to force Sulzer to unlock value in Sulzer Medica by making it a fully independent company. Shortly after InCentive's offer was announced, Sulzer announced its own plan to spin off Sulzer Medica.
Leonardo Vannotti had already been named as Sulzer's next chairman and will take the reins earlier than planned.
Vannotti has a reputation as a trouble-shooter and has restored the image of several companies over the last decade. In 1991, he became chairman of the Bern-based telecommunications company, Ascom, which was having serious difficulties at the time.
From 1996 to 1997, he led the retailer Distefora, now known as Interdiscount, back to profitability and he was also called in to reorganise the Zug-based group, Carlo Gavazzi.
Vannotti, who has Swiss citizenship although born in Milan, was also responsible in the 1980s for restructuring Brown Boveri's Italian affiliate in his native city.
Max Link, the current vice-president, will be Roost's successor at Sulzer Medica.
swissinfo with agencies