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Praxair

(PX)

said CEO Dennis H. Reilley will step down at the end of 2006.

The Danbury, Conn., industrial gases company said operating chief Stephen F. Angel will become president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2007. Reilley will remain chairman until his retirement on April 30, 2007.

Reilley joined Praxair as president and chief executive in March 2000 and added the title of chairman in December 2000.

Earlier he had a long career at

Conoco

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and

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.

Angel joined Praxair in 2001 as an executive vice president after serving 21 years in various sales, marketing and management positions at

General Electric

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.

He became president and chief operating officer and a director of the Praxair board in February.

"Steve Angel's positive impact has been felt throughout Praxair from the moment he joined the company," Reilley said. "He possesses a rare blend of strong operating skills and strategic insight, and has been instrumental in shaping strategies and steering our global business operations in the last few years. I know he will provide Praxair with outstanding leadership in the coming years.

"Praxair is performing well, our order book for the coming years has never been so strong, and we look forward to robust growth," Reilley added. "I am convinced our shareholders' interests will be in excellent hands."