The chief financial officer of the ABB power and automation technology group, Renato Fassbind, is leaving the company.
ABB announced the move on Monday, less than three weeks after company chairman Percy Barnevik stepped down, saying he shared responsibility for the slump in the company's earnings.
ABB shares fell by 8.2 per cent on Monday, to close at SFr17.3 ($10.38).
Fassbind, who had been CFO of the Swedish-Swiss company since 1997, was coordinating plans to cut ABB's debt of $6.3 billion by $1 billion by the end of the year.
Fassbind, aged 46, is to take up the position of chief executive officer of Ditehelm Keller Holding.
ABB shares have fallen by almost 60 per cent over the past year, amid concern over the company's exposure to asbestos-related lawsuits in the United States.
In its statement, ABB announced that a Swiss, Peter Voser, would replace Fassbind early in the second quarter of 2002.
Voser, aged 43, is currently chief financial officer of Shell Worldwide Oil Products.
ABB divests air handling business
In another development, ABB announced it was selling its air treatment business to a Luxembourg-based investment company.
ABB said the business was being sold to Global Air Movement for $225 million (SFr375 million), as part of its strategy to focus on power and automation technology products, systems and solutions for utilities and industry.
ABB's air handling equipment business supplies fan and ventilation products for public, commercial and industrial ventilation and process applications.
"The air handling business is undergoing a period of consolidation, and we feel the new owners are in a better position to grow and sustain these operations," commented ABB's president and CEO Jörgen Centermann in a statement.
The business, based in Zurich, employs about 3,500 people in 30 countries and reported sales revenues of around $440 million in 2000.
swissinfo with agencies
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