Two top Signify executives leaving

Dec. 13, 2023
As the cutbacks at headquarters quicken, the CFO and chief commercial officer are saying goodbye. CEO up for re-election. Supervisory board in flux too.

Signify’s ongoing cutbacks in its central organization have claimed the job of at least one top executive, as the company is eliminating the role of chief commercial officer, held by Maria Letizia Mariani. At the same time, chief financial officer Javier van Engelen is resigning.

The company also announced that its supervisory board — which is itself in transition — is backing CEO Eric Rondolat for re-election for another four years when his current four-year term expires in May 2024

Rondolat has been adamant about shrinking the central organization, a process that quickened earlier this year and that it reaffirmed as part of a restructuring announced on Dec. 1 in which Signify created a fourth division, responsible for OEM business, to go along with three other existing vertical divisions and name changes on two of them.

Until now, though, the Eindhoven, Holland–based company has refrained from stating which executive jobs might go at headquarters.

That changed this week.

“As Signify moves to a new operating model announced on December 1, it has been agreed not to renew the role of chief commercial officer, held by Maria Letizia Mariani since her appointment in 2020,” the company stated. “Therefore, she will not be up for re-appointment at the AGM [annual general meeting] in May 2024. Maria Letizia will assist the CEO with the transition and work on some key strategic projects until the end of her term.”

“As we move to the new operating model, the commercial organizations will fall under the verticalized businesses, so it was decided not to renew this role after the end of Letizia’s current term in May 2024,” a Signify spokesperson explained to LEDs Magazine.

CFO van Engelen’s resignation takes effect on April 1. The announcement of his departure comes as gross margins are improving while sales and earnings slump. 

He is leaving “to pursue other interests,” the company said.

Van Engelen had been CFO since June 2020. His responsibilities include financial duties as well as IT, real estate, and security, including cybersecurity.

“The supervisory board will evaluate internal and external candidates for the CFO role in the coming months,” the spokesperson told LEDs.

Both van Engelen and Mariani have been part of Signify’s board of management, a leadership team overseen by Rondolat. The board also includes Harshavardhan Chitale, who has been leader of the Digital Solutions division, which is changing its name to Professional. LEDs has inquired as to whether his position on the board will change now that the organization is in flux.

LEDs has also asked whether Mariani will continue as head of the Conventional division, which is a post she has held concurrent with her chief commercial officer job, according to her bio on the Signify website. 

Signify’s supervisory board endorsed Rondolat for re-election as CEO.

“The supervisory board is very pleased that Eric Rondolat remains available for a next term,” said supervisory board chairman Arthur van der Poel, who is stepping down after the AGM in May. “Eric has proven to be a strong leader of the business and will be of great value and importance in continuing to execute on Signify’s strategy in the new customer-centric organization for the coming years.”

Rondolat has run the business on a day-to-day basis since 2012, dating back to when Signify was called Philips Lighting as part of the larger Philips N.V. company. Signify split out from Philips in 2016. It still uses the Philips brand.

With van der Poel resigning as supervisory board chairman, current vice chair Gerard van de Aast will replace him, the company said. 

In other moves, the board proposed the appointment of Jeroen Drost to the board. Drost is chairman of SHV Holdings, a privately held Dutch company with interests in energy, transportation, food, retail, financial services, and other areas.

The supervisory board also proposed the re-appointment of board members Pamela Knapp for four years and Rita Lane for two years.

The proposed appointments and re-appointments are subject to elections in May.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.