The board has accepted his resignation and appointed Ditlev Engel as new CEO effective from the date of Sigaard’s leaving. Mr Engel comes from a 20-year stint at Hempel A/S, where he was md for four and a half years.

“After fifteen years with financial responsibility and another three years as managing director of Vestas with a fantastic development during the years, it seems to be the right time to let other people take over,” Mr Sigaard said in a statement. “The integration of Vestas and NEG Micon is a very important task, which is expected to be largely completed in the spring of 2005, and therefore the timing of a change to the position of managing director is correct,” he added.

Bent Carlsen, chairman of the board of directors, said that it was too early to thank him for “the significant efforts he has made … during the last eighteen years” but that “the board fully understand that Svend wishes to pursue new tasks,”

Shares down
Vestas expects to hold on to its one-third slice of the global market for turbines, despite a 2005 outlook that disappointed investors. The company had a market share of 33% in 2003 and sales of 1.65 billion euros. Bolstered by the takeover of NEG Micon, it expects sales to rise 58% in 2004 to 2.6 billion euros. In its first outlook for 2005, sales were forecast to level off, limited to a 12% rise at best, to 2.9 billion euros, with profit on earnings before interest and tax at 4%.

The forecast shocked the market, which was expecting a much healthier outlook given the two year extension of the production tax credit in the US. Vestas’ forecast sent its shares downwards, falling 0.25 kroner from DKK78.