Calculated Drama

Chaotic Days at Linde

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    A merger of Linde and Praxair would create the world’s largest industrial gas supplier.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Linde’s Chief Executive Wolfgang Büchele resigned this week, reopening talks to merge with U.S. rival Praxair.
    • Linde and Praxair are among the biggest players in the industrial gas market, valued at roughly €29.9 billion, or $32 billion, and $34.2 billion respectively.
    • The merger negotiations could be completed in the next one to two months.
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    Audio

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Bayerische Finanzmedaille
Is it all part of Mr. Reitzle's elaborate plan? Photo: Matthias Balk/picture-alliance /dpa

Now that Aldo Belloni has taken up his new position as chief executive, Linde is back where it was years ago: Linde is Wolfgang Reitzle.

Just as he was the indisputable and unassailable strongman during his time as chief executive at the industrial gases giant, he has now renewed that role as chairman of the supervisory board. With the sudden departure of chief executive Wolfgang Büchele, who once dared to hint that not everything worked wonderfully under Mr. Rietzle, the management board is now innocuous and loyal.

Like the other members of the board, Mr. Belloni is an excellent professional who worked effectively with Mr. Reitzle for many years at Linde. But his reactivation from retirement is the next act in a theater piece that would have to be entitled “Chaotic Days at Linde.”

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