CEO set for quick exit / Move unexpected / Interim successor pulled from advisory board
Soon to be ex-CEO: Hanns-Peter Knaebel (Photo: Röchling)
A surprising personnel shift at plastics processor Röchling (Mannheim / Germany; www.roechling.com): On 30 September 2021, Hanns-Peter Knaebel plans to resign as CEO of the group and the automotive division and thus bid adieu to the company. The 52-year-old physician said he wants to “pursue new career opportunities elsewhere for his own private reasons”, the company announced. No further details were provided.

The departure of Knaebel, who had been at the helm of Röchling since October 2017 and previously headed B. Braun subsidiary Aesculap for eight years (see Plasteurope.com of 22.08.2017) comes as a surprise as the company apparently had not expected it. Until Knaebel’s successor is found, advisory board member Rainer Schulz plans to take over as interim group CEO. The position of CEO of the automotive division is to be filled by the previous head of automotive finance, Raphael Wolfram. Schulz, 56, has long worked in the plastics processing industry. Most recently, he was at Rehau for more than 17 years, 8 of which as group CEO of.

Knaebel took the job four years ago with high expectations. Because of his work with medical technology manufacturer B. Braun, he was expected to, among other things, significantly expand the Rehau’s medical division, then hailed the “most important strategic growth segment”. He did not succeed. After the automotive and industrial units, Medical is still by far the smallest division at the German company, which made it through the pandemic with its share of bruises. When presenting business figures for 2020 a few weeks ago, Knaebel had to report a 12% drop in total turnover to EUR 2.04 bn. Reportedly, EBITDA was halved, so the bottom line was likely in the red (see Plasteurope.com of 27.05.2021).

Moreover, there was considerable unrest among Röchling’s top personnel under Knaebel. In 2018/19, for instance, the CFO and head of the automotive division both left the company in quick succession, and the new CEO for the medical unit has not yet achieved the anticipated breakthrough in growth.
01.09.2021 Plasteurope.com [248468-0]
Published on 01.09.2021
Röchling: Überraschender Abgang von CEO Hanns-Peter KnaebelGerman version of this article...

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