Schaeffler has named Klaus Deller as its new chief executive effective July 1, the company said in a statement today. Deller, who is currently the head of commercial-vehicle braking systems at Knorr-Bremse, will replace Klaus Rosenfeld, who has been serving as interim CEO while working as the company’s chief financial officer since October after the founding family ousted former CEO Juergen Geissinger.
Schaeffler is still struggling to cut debt from an attempt lead by Geissinger to acquire a limited stake in Continental -- a move that backfired amid the 2008 global recession. "Klaus Deller is an exceptional leader with substantial experience in the automotive supplier industry," Georg Schaeffler said in the statement.
"Under his leadership, we will be able to further strengthen our position as the technology leader in automotive and industrial applications." Deller has been with Knorr-Bremse since 2009. Prior to that, Deller held senior posts at Brose and Robert Bosch. Schaeffler holds a 46-percent stake in Continental, almost down to half from a peak of 90 percent.
Schaeffler has also managed to cut net debt to EUR5.7 billion at the end of September 2013 from over EUR10 billion. Schaeffler and Continental have said they intend to maintain cooperation on some projects. Rosenfeld will still be Schaeffler’s CFO while becoming deputy CEO.
Rosenfeld will also sit as a member of the board of directors at INA-Holding Schaeffler GmbH, which manages the Schaeffler family's holdings in Continental and Schaeffler. In November, Schaeffler said it expects its 2013 earnings before interest and taxes to account for 13 percent of sales, excluding currency effects and the cost of reducing production in Schweinfurt and Wuppertal, Germany.