Juergen Geissinger has stepped down as the CEO of German supplier Schaeffler and will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Klaus Rosenfeld in an interim basis as part of a strategy shift. Family-owned Schaeffler makes FAG bearings used by North American automakers to boost fuel economy. In a statement, Schaeffler said that Geissinger's departure was by "mutual consent."
Chairman Georg F. W. Schaeffler said that this change in leadership is just the start and that it will be followed by the “future reorientation of Schaeffler Group and its leadership.” Geissinger’s contract would have expired at the end of 2014. Last April, sources said that Schaeffler is struggling to pay back its debt from the largest shareholder in Continental and is considering a plan to announce an initial public offering next year.
David Arnold, an automotive specialist at Barclays Plc's investment-banking unit in London, told his clients that this change in leadership may “reflect the preparation for a potential IPO to de-leverage further.” Schaeffler is famous in North America for its INA, FAG and LuK brands.
FAG is a global leader in producing ball bearings and roller bearings that are used on axles and in transmissions and differentials. LuK manufactures transmission parts for nearly all types gearboxes, as well as complete clutch assemblies for manual transmissions.
LuK has content on numerous North American and European transmissions. The company is ranked No. 21 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide sales to automakers of $8.7 billion in 2012. Of this amount, about $1.1 billion in revenue was generated in North America. Founded in 1998, Schaeffler is a manufacturer of automotive, aerospace and industrial roller bearings.