Brian Buchan, who guided SSL International P.L.C. through a difficult accounting crisis and played a key role in the company's turnaround in the last two years, will step down as CEO April 1.
He will be replaced by Gary Watts, financial director and managing director of the firm's European operations.
Buchan and SSL gave no reason for the resignation, although the company indicated it was a joint decision between Buchan and SSL's board of directors. In a prepared statement, Buchan said it was time for him to move on.
Buchan, 51, joined SSL as CEO three years ago as the firm was wading through the aftereffects of a profits warning in England following the revelation that sales and earnings had been overstated in previous years. He led SSL out of the red-and the controversy-and into the black in 2003. Five former company executives allegedly involved in the accounting scandal were charged late last year and face prosecution.
The executive also initiated plans last year to sell SSL's medical division-including latex and synthetic latex surgical and examination gloves-and turn the company's focus to the manufacture of consumer products, including latex condoms. That process has taken longer than expected to complete, company officials said.
Watts, 47, who also is chairman of an SSL joint venture in India, joined the company in February 2001. Before that he was executive director of Celltech Medeva P.L.C. He also serves on the board of the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in England.