FLSmidth announces Mikko Keto as new CEO & posts healthy Q3 trading numbers

FLSmidth, the Danish cement and mining equipment and linked technology solutions giant, will welcome a new Group CEO on 1 January 2022. Mikko Keto is replacing Thomas Schulz, who is taking a new role outside of the company.
Concrete Plants, Equipment & Applications / November 11, 2021
By Guy Woodford
FLSmidth says Mikko Keto will become the Group's new CEO on 1 January 2022, replacing Thomas Schulz

Keto joined FLSmidth in January 2021 as president of the Group's Mining business from Metso, where he was president, Minerals Services and Pumps. He holds an MSc in Economics from the Helsinki School of Economics.

The announcement of the Group's new CEO came as FLSmidth posted healthy Q3 trading figures. Group order intake increased 14% organically year-on-year to DKK 4.549bn (€611.57mn). Revenue increased 21% organically to DKK 4.66bn (€626.49mn). FLSmidth gross profit was up 21% to DKK 1.074bn (€144.39mn).

FLSmidth’s headquarters in Copenhagen Pic: COBE
FLSmidth’s headquarters in Copenhagen Pic: COBE

Commenting on Keto's appointment, Vagn Sørensen, FLSmidth chairman, said: "I am pleased we are able to recruit internally for such a vital position, which will ensure a continuation of the strong progress FLSmidth is demonstrating. Since joining FLSmidth, Mikko has been setting a clear direction for our Mining business and is overseeing the thyssenkrupp acquisition's integration planning.

"There is significant growth potential ahead in the mining industry, and Mikko's experience, including his leadership skills, comprehensive industry insight and proven track record in driving business initiatives that deliver profitability, will be a competitive advantage for FLSmidth. I have strong confidence in his ability to deliver a very successful and profitable FLSmidth going forward and unfold the full potential of MissionZero."

Since joining FLSmidth in 2013, Thomas Schulz has transformed the company from a predominately capital project organisation to an organisation with more focus on service and aftermarket and a much stronger local presence and closer proximity to customers. Under his leadership, the company has invested heavily in digital offerings and competencies and launched the industry-leading sustainability ambition, MissionZero, which aims to deliver zero-emission technology for cement and mining by 2030. MissionZero has won global recognition and demonstrated FLSmidth's strong leadership within sustainability. Thomas will continue as CEO through year-end to ensure a well-planned handover and a seamless transition of the company's affairs and operations to Mikko Keto.

Thomas Schulz in stepping down as FLSmidth CEO at the end of 2021
Thomas Schulz in stepping down as FLSmidth CEO at the end of 2021

Speaking about his decision to leave FLSmidth, Schulz said: "After more than eight years at the helm of FLSmidth, including many years navigating the extended downturns in Mining and most recently the global pandemic, I'm proud to see all that we have accomplished together, and excited about what lies ahead for FLSmidth. Our strategy to deliver fully digitalised sustainability offerings and to expand our service and aftermarket business has put us in a solid position to pursue opportunities for profitability and growth in both mining and cement.

"Today, we are poised to complete the acquisition of thyssenkrupp's Mining business, one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the company. This would not have been possible without the excellent contributions from our global colleagues. With so much strong work underway and with a highly qualified leadership team in place, this is the right time for me to take on a new opportunity. I believe Mikko is an excellent choice to be our next CEO. I also want to thank the chairman, Vagn Sørensen, and the Board of Directors for their support and fruitful collaboration over the years."

As incoming CEO, one of Keto's key priorities will be to ensure FLSmidth delivers on the announced Cement reshaping and repositioning plan, bringing FLSmidth's Cement business back to profitability and ensuring the organisation is ready to capture the current and future market for green cement. As previously announced, the company's Cement organisation will in the future run more as a stand-alone entity within FLSmidth which will deliver benefits from group synergies.

An FLSmidth cement plant in Brazil
An FLSmidth cement plant in Brazil

As the revenue split following the thyssenkrupp integration will be approximately 75% Mining and 25% Cement, the Group CEO is also the Mining President going forward. Hence, no recruitment for a new Mining President is needed. After the handover of roles in the new year, Thomas Schulz will stay on with FLSmidth until the end of February 2022 to support any remaining transition actions.

Vagn Sørensen added: "I want to thank Thomas for his strong leadership, the execution of the strategy and solid results. FLSmidth today is a much better company, more focused, closer to its customers and with a larger and significantly better service and aftermarket offering. Under Thomas' leadership, FLSmidth launched MissionZero and was one of the first companies within mining and cement to join the Science Based Targets initiative."

Mikko Keto said he is looking forward to taking on the new role: "I am extremely honoured and excited about the opportunity to lead the entire FLSmidth organisation and work closely with our talented colleagues around the world. Over the past few years, even in the face of great challenge, we have leveraged FLSmidth's global footprint, business mix and operating model, more clearly defined ourselves as the leaders in digitalisation and sustainability and set the course towards 2030 and beyond. My enthusiasm for cement and mining, driving productivity, digitalisation, and being a part of the commercialisation of MissionZero is what brought me to FLSmidth. With great pride, I will drive our winning strategy forward as the company's next CEO."

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