Layne Christensen Co. has announced that the firm’s long-time CEO Andrew Schmitt informed the board of directors of his intention to retire at the end of the fiscal year, ending Jan. 31, 2012. The plan of succession for Schmitt will be for Rene Robichaud to assume the position of president on Sept. 6. Robichaud will assume the additional role of CEO upon Schmitt's retirement. Schmitt will continue to serve on Layne Christensen's board of directors.

"I have spent 18 years, almost half my business career, at Layne Christensen Company and enjoyed every day," says Schmitt. "The company has accomplished so much during that period, especially when I think back to the small water well drilling company I joined in 1993.

“Without the dedicated efforts of all our employees in every company, as well as our partners in the Latin American-affiliated companies, such success would not have been possible. I have been at the helm through many good and a few bad times, but always with the strong support of our management, employees and partners. This week, I will be with our Latin American partners for the Smithsonian's grand opening of the Chilean Miners Rescue Exhibit. That joint effort produced the most important event in our long and colorful history. I could work another 18 years, and never come close to sharing an experience such as the rescue with all of our people. No one could ask for more."  

Robichaud, a graduate of Harvard Business School, has served as a director of Layne Christensen since January 2009, and during that time period has served on Layne's Compensation and Nominating & Corporate Governance committees. Robichaud is a seasoned expert in strategy and business development. During his 15-year career in investment banking, Rene helped hundreds of companies think strategically and grow profitably. Most recently, he served as president and CEO of NS Group Inc., a publicly traded manufacturer of oil country tubular goods, which he helped grow from $150 million to $1.5 billion in enterprise value. In addition, Robichaud was a managing director at Salomon Smith Barney and a principal at Morgan Stanley.  

"I am deeply honored to be elected as president, and to follow Andy as the next CEO of Layne Christensen Company. I look forward to working with the company's talented management team and employees, many of whom I have had the opportunity to get to know over the past two and one-half years," says Robichaud. "Andy has had a long and successful career, and enjoys the respect of his peers, competitors and employees. I am particularly pleased that Layne Christensen Company will continue to benefit from his years of experience."

Schmitt further states, "I am confident Rene will continue the proud legacy of both Layne and Christensen, two names that trace their industry leading roots back over 125 years ago. I am very pleased Rene is willing and excited to deepen his commitment to our company."