Bloomberg Report: 3M CEO Buckley to Leave in 2011

Citing three unnamed sources, Bloomberg said that three top 3M executives are being considered to take the helm following Buckley's departure, but a company spokeswoman said that the Bloomberg report is factually incorrect.

Bloomberg reported Monday that 3M Company directors are preparing for the earlier-than-expected departure of CEO George Buckley-but a company spokeswoman said that's not the case.

Citing “three people with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg said that Buckley told board members and senior officers that he would like to resign next year. His contract doesn't end until he turns 65 in February 2012.

3M spokeswoman Donna Fleming-Runyon told Twin Cities Business on Tuesday afternoon that Buckley has “no intention of leaving the company early” and declined to comment on his possible successors.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg's three unnamed sources reportedly said that 3M may make an announcement in early 2011 about Buckley's intention to leave.

Bloomberg said two of those sources indicated that three top 3M executives are being considered to take the helm following Buckley's departure:

¥ Inge Thulin, 57, executive vice president of international operations /> ¥ Bradley Sauer, 51, executive vice president of health care /> ¥ Jean Lobey, 58, executive vice president of the safety, security, and protection-services businesses

Since Buckley took the reins in 2005, he has improved operational excellence by shortening supply chains, and strengthened the company through continued investment in research and development. He also has supported 3M's growth through strategic acquisitions. Since 2005, 3M has completed more than 65 deals across more than 20 divisions-including numerous multibillion-dollar sales earlier this year.

Buckley is only the second CEO in 3M's 108-year history to be recruited from outside of the company. In 2008 and 2009, he cut several thousand jobs, suspended merit pay increases, froze hiring, and offered early retirement packages in order to steer the company as its revenue and earnings tumbled amid the recession.

3M is now Minnesota's fifth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $23.1 billion in 2009.