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Novozymes CEO to step down in early 2020 after issuing profit warning

Novozymes A/S President and CEO Peder Holk Nielsen will step down in early 2020, the company announced Oct. 15 following a profit warning last week.

Nielsen will continue in his role until the company finds his replacement, who is expected to be from outside the Novo Group.

"Novozymes has been challenged in recent years and needs to deliver higher revenue growth. Therefore, this is the right time to bring in new leadership," the company said in a statement.

On Oct. 10, the industrial enzymes company projected 2019 organic sales to decline 2% or come in flat at best, compared with prior guidance of 1% to 3% growth.

"Volatile markets in the U.S. ethanol, global agriculture and the starch processing businesses in food and beverage continue to impact sales negatively," Nielsen, who has been CEO since April 2013, said during the company's Oct. 10 conference call.

As a result, the company revised its EBIT margin outlook to between 27% and 28%, down 1 percentage point from prior guidance. It also forecast full-year net profit to drop 5% or come in flat at best, compared with previous guidance of between 3% and 8% increase.