Dr Michael Schwarzkopf, long-standing Chairman of the Executive Board for Plansee Group, Reutte, Austria, has moved to head the Supervisory Board of the group. His former colleagues on the Executive Board, Bernhard Schretter and Karlheinz Wex, are now leading the Plansee Group with immediate effect.
Schwarzkopf has had operational responsibility for Plansee Group for 27 years and became Chairman of the Executive Board 21 years ago. “After my withdrawal from day-to-day business, I will, as an active Chairman of the Supervisory Board, focus primarily on two topics – the strategic development of the Plansee Group and the continuous development of top management,” he stated. The change from the Executive Board to the Supervisory Board was said to have been planned well in advance.
Schwarzkopf stated that he expects Plansee to be “in good hands” with former colleagues Schretter and Wex. “We have successfully worked together for more than 15 years as a management team,” he stated, “and both gentlemen perfectly know the company through many years of operational responsibility.”
Wex has emphasised the importance of financial independence as a success factor, coupled with the need to continue the sustainable profitable growth of the Plansee Group. Schretter also pointed out the responsibility of Plansee as an employer in the Außerfern region: “Breitenwang / Reutte will continue to play a central role as the largest production site and headquarters of the group in the future,” he stated. Both Schretter and Wex emphasised the need for continuous improvement in order to be competitive in the global markets, and see large potential for Plansee in industrial digitisation and Industry 4.0.
Schwarzkopf joined Plansee Group in 1990. He led the Mexican subsidiary Sintermex from 1991 to 1993, became a member of the Executive Board in 1993 and Chairman of the Executive Board of the Plansee Group in 1996. Over the past 21 years, the group has developed into one of the industry’s key companies specialised in the high-tech materials molybdenum and tungsten. In this area, the Plansee Group now covers the entire value-added chain, from the powder through to the customer-specific component.
Schwarzkopf described the portfolio-related measures taken to achieve today’s world market position as the most important strategic steps taken during his time as Chairman of the Executive Board. These include the establishment of hard metal joint venture Ceratizit, the takeover of tungsten powder specialist GTP and the investment in Chilean molybdenum ore processing company Molymet, as well as the disinvestment of automotive supplier PMG. In his 21 years as Chairman, Plansee’s equity development saw an increase from €100 million (31% equity ratio) to €1.2 billion (58% equity ratio). At present, the Group has no debt.