Germany: KHS reshuffles management board

KHS, one of the “leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems for the beverage, food and non-food industries”, based in Dortmund Germany does not come to rest. After the surprising dismissal of its chairman Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Niemeyer at the end of last year (, 25.11.2017), the announcement of 305 job cuts shortly before Christmas and questions about the strategic fit of Salzgitter’s engineering subsidiary with the rest of its rolled steel and tube products business (, 8.3.2018), the company has now released its number two at the helm of the company.

Prof. E.h. Dr.-Ing. Johann Grabenweger, 54-year-old Chief Executive Manager for Sales and Service at KHS, was released from his work duties on Sunday April 15. Even after more than one week, KHS has still not officially confirmed this important management change although the manager’s personal data was already removed from the company’s website.

Grabenweger grew up in Brazil and holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and an MBA degree in finance and marketing. He joined KHS in 2006 as Chief Operating Officer responsible for Production, Logistics, Purchasing and On-site Installation. In September 2011 he was promoted Chief Sales Officer, a function he held until last week.

Even more confidential is the name of KHS’ new CEO, which INSIDER just got to know. The designated but still unconfirmed CEO and successor of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Niemeyer is Kai Acker, who earned a degree in electrical engineering from University RWTH Aachen and a MBA from Technical University of Munich. In addition he successfully completed the Bavarian Elite Academy, a professional development course for young managers supported by leading Bavarian industrial companies.

Acker spent around six years with the market leader for packaging solutions and one of KHS’ fiercest competitors, Krones from Neutraubling, Germany, most recently as Senior Vice President Business Unit Filling and Packaging Technology wet section, before being promoted as CEO of Leoni Special Cables from Friesoythe, Germany, about two years ago.

The timing to reshuffle the management board is certainly not entirely coincidental, as the interim CEO of KHS Burkhard Becker in his role as a member of Salzgitter's Executive Board needs to present a sign of strength and a solution for the ailing subsidiary at the Annual General Meeting of the parent company on May 24.

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