CMA CGM formally approves new structure
French container line CMA CGM said Monday its shareholders have formally approved a new management structure first outlined in mid-December, one that involves founder Jacques Saad' releasing the reins of the company to new Chief Executive Officer Philippe Souli'.
Saad' will remain as chairman of a newly constituted board of directors, while Souli' will have long-time CMA CGM executives Farid Salem, Rodolphe Saad' and Jean-Yves Schapiro a rung beneath him.
The board will now includes Saad', Souli', Salem, Saad', Tanya Saad' Zeenny, Tristan Vieljeux and Pierre Bellon, with Denis Ranque and Christian Garin as independent directors.
Saad' is stepping aside from the day-to-day running of the line as part of a deal with CMA CGM's lenders, with the lenders providing an interim $500 million credit line to overcome cash woes related to the funding of new vessels.
The embattled line said it returned to profitability in December, but it still has high debts and a huge order book of large vessels — something that even improved rates and volume in 2010 would fail to overcome.
CMA CGM said it 'expects to see further improvement in revenue, supported by high loading factors and steady rising freight rates ' following a return to operating profit in fourth quarter 2009.'