MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Philip Weickhardt has stepped down as managing director and chief executive officer of Melbourne-based Orica Ltd.
Don Mercer, Orica chairman, will act as executive chairman until a replacement is found.
An Orica spokesman said an international search was being conducted for Weickhardt's replacement.
The spokesman said Weickhardt's resignation was a board decision to improve the company's operating performance. Orica's plastics divisions recorded a loss for a six-month period that ended March 30.
Orica has a joint venture with Melbourne-based Quenos Pty. Ltd. that manufactures polypropylene, polyethylene and synthetic rubber. Its vinyl division, Australian Vinyl Corp., makes PVC.
Weickhardt joined Orica in 1971.