U.S. Markets closed

Livent executives to exit after lithium forecast slashed

(Adds details of other executive departure)

By Ernest Scheyder

May 10 (Reuters) - Livent Corp said on Friday that two senior executives were leaving to pursue other opportunities, coming just days after the lithium producer cut its 2019 forecast and warned that demand was slipping for a version of the white metal it produces.

Philadelphia-based Livent said Chief Growth Officer Thomas Schneberger would leave at the end of the month and that Rasmus Gerdeman, head of strategy and investor relations, has already left.

Lithium is a key material used to make electric vehicle batteries. Livent has focused its business on one specific type of the white metal, hydroxide, which has seen weak demand in recent months due in part to uncertainty around China's electric vehicle subsidies.

Livent on Tuesday cut its full-year profit and revenue forecasts, citing weakening prices for hydroxide and lower demand from some customers. The company's stock has dropped 27 percent since the forecast cut, closing Friday at $8.06 per share.

Livent rival Albemarle Corp has split its business focus between hydroxide and carbonate, another type of lithium, helping to inoculate it from market gyrations. Albemarle posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday and reiterated its full-year forecast.

Schneberger joined chemical maker FMC Corp in 2007 and moved to Livent when it was spun off from FMC last year. He was responsible for overseeing operations, sales and marketing, and for 2018 was given a higher-than-expected bonus due to his performance, according to regulatory filings.

As the third-highest ranking executive at the company, Schneberger is eligible for a one-time severance payout equal to his base salary and annual bonus, an amount that would exceed $620,000 at 2018 levels, according to the filings.

Gerdeman joined Livent in 2018 roughly five months before it was spun off from FMC. He previously worked for consultancy FTI Consulting Inc.

Gerdeman was responsible for long-term operational planning and identifying potential acquisition targets. Livent said earlier this year it was looking to buy another lithium mine; the company's only existing mine for the white metal is in Argentina.

Both Schneberger and Gerdeman reported directly to Chief Executive Paul Graves. Neither Schneberger not Gerdeman responded to requests for comment.

Livent said Daniel Rosen, the current investor relations manager, will assume Gerdeman's responsibilities. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Cynthia Ostermanand Leslie Adler)