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A Change at the Röchling Group

  • As of 1 June 2016, Ludger Bartels will become the new Chief Executive Officer at Röchling

  • Georg Duffner Retires – Change at the Röchling Advisory Board

  • Three Additional New Executive Board Member as of June 2016

  • Reorganization of the Divisions

Mannheim, Germany, 18 January 2016... Ludger Bartels will become the new CEO at the Röchling plastics specialist. As of 1 June 2016, he will take over the position of CEO from Georg Duffner, who is retiring after many successful years as planned on 31 May. Bartels, 62, has worked at the Röchling Group for almost 40 years and, since 2007, has been the second member of the Executive Board together with Duffner. “With him, we will have a highly skilled CEO in senior management with decades of experience, who will continue to pursue our Company’s successful course,” said Johannes Freiherr von Salmuth, Chairman of the Advisory Board and the Shareholder Board of the Röchling Group.

Von Salmuth thanked the departing CEO Georg Duffner for his very successful work. He assumed control of the Röchling Group in 2001 at a challenging time and had the vision to successfully transform the Company from a conglomerate into a worldwide leading plastics specialist, according to von Salmuth. Under his aegis, Röchling consistently focused on the core business. Access was gained to new regional and industrial markets, through targeted investments and corporate acquisitions in the plastics sector. Despite all the restructurings, he succeeded in remaining faithful to the family Company’s motto – “Continuity Amid Change.” “We owe Georg Duffner our utmost thanks. He achieved or even surpassed all of the goals he set for himself and is handing over a strategically well positioned and financially sound Company,” von Salmuth continued.

On 31 May, the Duffner era will come to an end at Röchling, an era that will go down in the almost 200-year history of the family Company as one of the most successful. The unusually high regard the Röchling family has for Georg Duffner’s work is also demonstrated by the fact that the Shareholder Board has already decided to nominate him for election to the Advisory Board at the shareholders’ meeting in the summer.

Furthermore, Georg Duffner’s departure has been taken as an occasion to reorganize the lead company and Executive Board of the Röchling Group.

The designated CEO Ludger Bartels, who studied materials engineering, began his career at today’s Röchling Engineering Plastics SE in 1977. He worked there in various capacities, including as head of development and quality assurance, extrusion, the thermoplastics profit center, and the composites profit center. In 1996, he joined the Executive Board of the Röchling Engineering Plastics Group and in 1999, he became its Chairman. Since 2003, Mr. Bartels has also served as CEO of Röchling Sustaplast SE. In 2007, he was appointed to the Executive Board of the Röchling Group, where he was responsible for the High-Performance Plastics division. “Ludger Bartels knows our business like no one else and is therefore the ideal choice for us to fill the position,” von Salmuth said.

Effective immediately, the Röchling Group has reorganized its divisions. Along with the existing Automotive division, the previously second division of “High-Performance Plastics” is being split into “Industrial” and “Medical” in order to highlight the strategic importance of the still small medical segment. In the future, the new CEO Ludger Bartels will be responsible for the Medical division. Röchling wants to increase sales to EUR 250 million in this division by 2020. Of this, over EUR 100 million will be achieved through the acquisition of more companies.

The Industrial division will supply all other industrial business sectors. By 2020, this division should grow to EUR 1 billion – of this, approximately EUR 100 million will be the result of acquisitions. As of June of this year, Rüdiger Keinberger, who was appointed to the Executive Board of the former High-Performance Plastics division in the summer of 2015, will be responsible for this division on the Röchling Executive Board.

The Automotive division will remain the largest division, encompassing all the companies that supply the automobile industry. By 2020, Röchling intends to increase sales from the current EUR 800 million to EUR 1.25 billion, primarily through the successful management of organic growth. The previous spokesman of Röchling Automotive SE, Erwin Doll, will replace Georg Duffner in June as the responsible member of the Executive Board at the lead company.

Completing the new Executive Board team will be Steffen Rowold, who along with his activity as CFO of the Automotive division will assume responsibility from Georg Duffner the “Financial” area at the lead company. As a result, as of 1 June 2016, the new Röchling Executive Board will present itself as a four-member Executive Board with clear divisional authority and a traditional CFO in a cross-divisional position.

“Our new Executive Board members have proven themselves over many years in the Röchling Group. We are proud to be able to put together such an impressive lead company from our own ranks,” von Salmuth said.

Erwin Doll, 56, who studied mechanical engineering, worked for 13 years for BASF within the plastics department and was subsequently employed at the automotive supplier Johnson Controls and the Plastic Omnium Group. In 2006, Mr. Doll joined the Röchling Group, where he was appointed Executive Vice President of Sales and R&D at Röchling Automotive, where he has served as spokesman since 2011. As a new member of the Röchling Group’s Executive Board, he will be responsible for the Automotive division as of 1 June 2016.

Rüdiger Keinberger also studied mechanical engineering. After holding various positions, he joined Leder-fabrik Poeschl, which Röchling acquired in 1993. Born in Austria, he served as COO and CEO of Röchling Leripa Papertech in the USA for many years. From 2005 to 2015, Keinberger was Managing Director of Röchling Leripa Papertech in Austria and since 2011 has also served as Director of the Machined Components business unit of Röchling Engineering Plastics. In Septem¬ber 2015, the 50-year-old was appointed to the Executive Board of the Röchling Engineering Plastics Group. As a new member of the Röchling Group’s Executive Board, he will be responsible for the new Industry division as of 1 June 2016.

With a graduate degree in business administration, Steffen Rowold began his career in the Controlling department of Blaupunkt Werke GmbH in Hildesheim (Germany) before transferring to Pierburg AG in Neuss (Germany). In 2001, the 51-year-old joined the Röchling Group, where he served as the Commercial Director of Röchling Automotive Peine KG until 2009. From 2004 to 2008, he was also a member of the Executive Board at the newly founded Röchling Technical Parts KG. In 2009, Mr. Rowold was appointed Board member in charge of commercial management at Röchling Automotive. As a new member of the Executive Board and Chief Financial Officer of the Röchling Group, Rowold will be responsible for the Financial division as of 1 June 2016.