Schwarzkopf worked for 27 years with operational responsibility for the Plansee Group and for 21 years he was Chairman of the Executive Board. "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," Schwarzkopf said at the annual press conference in Reutte. The change from the Executive Board to the Supervisory Board had been planned well in advance.
With his former Board colleagues, Bernhard Schretter and Karlheinz Wex, Schwarzkopf expects the Plansee Group to be in good hands. "We have successfully worked together for more than 15 years as a management team, and both gentlemen perfectly know the company through many years of operational responsibility," says Schwarzkopf.
Karlheinz Wex emphasized the importance of financial independence as a success factor, coupled with the need to continue the sustainable profitable growth of the Plansee Group. Bernhard Schretter pointed out the responsibility of the Plansee Group 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." Both Schretter and Wex emphasized the need for continuous improvement in order to be competitive in the global markets. Thanks to digitalization and "Industry 4.0", they see big differentiation potential for the Plansee Group.
Schwarzkopf joined the 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 world's leading companies specialized 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 during his time as Chairman of the Executive Board. These include the hard metal joint venture Ceratizit, the takeover of the tungsten powder specialist GTP and the investment in the Chilean molybdenum ore processing company Molymet, as well as the disinvestment of the automotive supplier PMG.
“In the mid-nineties, we realized only 50 percent of our sales from activities where we ranked among the top three players worldwide. Today it is significantly more than 90 percent.”
The Plansee Group has benefited from the strategic positioning and rapidly accelerating globalization of the past 15 years. In 1996, sales of the industrial portfolio were 300 million euros, of which 80 per cent were realized in Europe. In the past fiscal year, this figure was 2.14 billion euros, of which 50 per cent were realized outside Europe. "And we are winning market share year after year, and this is crucial," said Schwarzkopf.
Schwarzkopf is also proud of the Group's global expansion. In the mid-nineties, 3,000 employees were employed at 13 production sites around the world. Today the Group has 12,000 employees at more than 35 production sites. And the Plansee success story can also be measured in terms of equity development. Since he took office, this has risen from 100 million euros (31% equity ratio) to 1.2 billion euros (58% equity ratio). At present, the Group has no debt.
Supervisory Board of Plansee Holding AG As of 7 July 2017:
Dr. Michael Schwarzkopf (Chairman)
Dr. Alexander Leeb (Vice Chairman)
em. O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Doralt
Dr. Hariolf Kottmann Dr. Andreas Ludwig
Dr. Maria-Christina Schwarzkopf-Hilti
Bernhard Schretter joined the Plansee Group in 1986 after completing his mechanical engineering studies at the Technical University of Munich. After eight years in the hard metal division, Schretter worked in China, Hong Kong and the USA between 1994 and 2002.
Since 2002, Bernhard Schretter has been a member of the Executive Board of the Plansee Holding AG and Chairman of the Management Board of the Plansee High Performance Materials Division.
After completing his commercial science studies at Vienna University of Economics and Business, Karlheinz Wex joined the Plansee Group in 1991. After 10 years in various areas of accounting, Karlheinz Wex became a member of the Executive Management Board of Plansee Holding AG in 2001, where he was responsible for accounting, treasury, information systems and law. From 2014 to 2017, he was also Executive Co-Chairman of the Ceratizit Group.