Cemex’s No. 2 unexpectedly retires

Cemex’s No. 2 unexpectedly retires
Published: 10 February 2010

Cemex said on Tuesday its No. 2 executive, who helped guide the company through the global credit crisis, was taking early retirement, sending its shares down two per cent.

Hector Medina, 58, who was Cemex’s executive vice president of finance and legal, had been seen by analysts as the successor to Chief Executive Lorenzo Zambrano.

Cemex said that from March 1, senior executive Fernando Gonzalez would assume many of Medina’s responsibilities, including strategic planning and finances.

"We didn’t expect this. Medina wasn’t just the number two in the company but the man many considered as Zambrano’s successor," said a Mexico City-based analyst who declined to be named because he was not authorized to talk about the issue.

Medina, who joined the company in 1988, was credited with steering Cemex through difficult talks with bankers in the United States and Europe last year to refinance $15 billion in debt and avoid a default.

Zambrano, 64, who grew Cemex from a small Mexican company, told Reuters in an interview late last year that he had no plans to change his management team despite slumping sales volumes and the purchase of Australia’s Rinker in 2007.

Cemex shares fell 2.07 percent to close at 12.30 pesos after the company made the announcement, on a day when the broader IPC stock index .MXX closed up 0.55 percent.

(Edited report from Reuters).