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Akzo Nobel CEO Ton Buechner to return

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- Akzo Nobel, the biggest maker of paints and coatings by sales, says its Chief Executive Ton Buechner will be returning to work next week after extended sick leave due to 'medical fatigue.'

Buechner took the top job in April but went on leave by September, precipitating a sell-off in the company's shares that worsened after it was extended and investors puzzled over the meaning of the unusual absence. In October, the company reported a €2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) loss after taking a massive impairment charge on its home paints business, though sales rose.

In a statement, Buechner thanked members of the supervisory and executive boards for running the company while he was gone.

Buechner plans to take questions from analysts and the media in a phone conference Dec. 14.