Former ABB Chief Joins CD&R

ZURICH, June 6 (Reuters) – The former head of Swiss engineering group ABB (ABBN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) Fred Kindle is to become a partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the private equity group said, ending speculation about where Kindle would go next.

Kindle, whose sudden departure from ABB earlier this year shocked markets, will be responsible for acquisitions and will oversee existing holdings at the private equity group, CD&R said on Friday.

“He is a man with a lot of industrial know-how and has a lot of contacts in industry, which will no doubt help CD&R,” one Zurich-based analyst said.

Kindle, who joined ABB from smaller Swiss peer Sulzer (SUN.S: Quote, Profile, Research) in 2004 and took up the helm at ABB in 2005, has been widely credited with the company's return to strong growth after near bankruptcy in 2002.

Markets had been left guessing as to why Kindle left ABB, with some investors speculating that he had clashed with Chairman Hubertus von Gruenberg over the company's acquisition strategy.

But others believe that the departure was simply due to a personality clash between Kindle and von Gruenberg.

ABB is still looking for a new CEO and von Gruenberg was recently quoted as saying the group was aiming to find one by autumn. (Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Quentin Bryar)