Marvin O. Schlanger—who 13 months ago left a largely titular post at CEVA Logistics to pull the Dutch logistics giant out of a deep financial hole—will retire as CEO on Jan. 2 and be succeeded by Xavier Urbain, a former senior executive at rival Kuehne + Nagel.
While at Swiss-based Kuehne + Nagel, Urbain served on its management board and sat on its board of directors. He joins CEVA from consultancy HL Holdings, where he was president.
Schlanger had served as CEVA nonexecutive chairman from 2009 to 2012 and will return to the nonexecutive chairman's post, the company said.
Schlanger was named CEO in October 2012 to succeed John Pattullo, who announced his retirement just days after holding court at CEVA's annual media breakfast at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Annual Global Conference. At that time, CEVA said that Pattullo, who was named CEO in 2007, planned to run the company for five years and then step down.
Not widely known at the time, however, was the deep financial problems facing CEVA, difficulties amplified by the uneven post-recession global economic recovery and the Eurozone financial crisis that hit a number of the company's key markets. Although CEVA posted record revenues for 2012, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) plunged nearly 22 percent year-over-year.
In May, the company dramatically recapitalized its balance sheet, making moves that included an infusion of $310.3 million in capital and the elimination of half its consolidated debt to $1.75 billion. Ratings agency Standard & Poor's said at the time that CEVA would be forced to file for bankruptcy if it could not implement the plan. CEVA is owned by U.S. private equity group Apollo Global Management.
In the second quarter of 2013, the most recent reporting period available, CEVA's EBITDA doubled sequentially to $80 million. Debt had been reduced to $1.6 billion. It was at $3.3 billion at the end of 2012, CEVA said. However, revenue decreased 6.2 percent over the year-earlier period, due mostly to lower airfreight volumes.
In late October, Schlanger told the CSCMP media breakfast in Denver that he had to "rebuild the foundation of the company" and that the problems he confronted were "in the embryonic stage" when Pattullo stepped down. He said the recapitalization has now freed CEVA to allocate resources to high-growth areas.
Schlanger said the global economy, outside of Latin America and select regions like the Balkans and Turkey, is in "terrible" shape. Southern Europe remains in recession, and the climate there isn't much different from a year ago, he said. Northern Europe has recovered somewhat after dipping in the first half of the year. China is "not growing as expected," Schlanger added. The global auto industry, however, is "stronger than we would have thought," he said.