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Kimberly-Clark Appoints Michael Hsu As CEO

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) said that it appointed Michael Hsu, 54, as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2019. Hsu will continue to serve as a member of the company's Board of Directors. Hsu has served as Kimberly-Clark's President and Chief Operating Officer since January 1, 2017. Before that, he oversaw the company's nearly $8 billion North American Personal Care and Consumer Tissue businesses.

Hsu succeeds Thomas Falk, 60, who has served as Chief Executive Officer since 2002 and Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2003. Falk will become Executive Chairman of the Kimberly-Clark Board of Directors to help ensure a smooth transition.

Prior to joining Kimberly-Clark in 2012, Hsu was Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Kraft Foods. Before Kraft, he spent six years at H.J. Heinz, holding the positions of Vice President, Marketing for Ore-Ida and Frozen Meals, and later as President for Foodservice.

The company continues to target full-year 2018 organic sales growth of approximately 1 percent and adjusted earnings per share of $6.60 to $6.80, a year-on-year increase of 6 to 9 percent. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $6.64 per share for 2018. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

In January 2018, Kimberly-Clark initiated the 2018 Global Restructuring Program in order to reduce the company's structural cost base and enhance the company's flexibility to invest in its brands, growth initiatives and capabilities critical to delivering future growth. The program is expected to broadly impact all of the company's business segments and organizations in each major geography.

The company expects the program will generate annual pre-tax cost savings of $500 to $550 million by the end of 2021, driven by workforce reductions along with manufacturing supply chain efficiencies. As part of the program, Kimberly-Clark expects to exit or divest some low-margin businesses that generate approximately 1 percent of company net sales. The sales are concentrated in the consumer tissue business segment. To implement the program, the company expects to incur restructuring charges of $1.350 billion to $1.500 billion after tax by the end of 2020.

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