Stefan Sommer has been appointed to be the new CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, the auto parts supplier based in Germany, effective on May 1, 2012.
Sommer, who is 48 years old and who hails from Muenster, Germany, will function as the deputy CEO to Hans-Georg Haerter, the present CEO, beginning on January 1, 2012. Haerter, 66 years old, will retire at the end of April 2012. In 2008, Sommer moved from Continental AG to ZF.
Sommer has been tasked with ZF's strategic restructuring plan and last year, he became part of the board of management and was responsible for the supply chain management and purchasing.
In a statement, ZF Supervisory Board Chairman Giorgio Behr said that this change “does not mean a real changeover – on the contrary, it is a clear sign of continuity."
The company described Sommer as “a guarantor” so that ZF’s strategic direction will continue. Sommer studied mechanical engineering before starting a career with Continental where he managed projects on electronics and sensors, suspension, occupant protection and electronic braking systems.
Three years ago, he joined ZF where he became head of the suspension division at subsidiary ZF Sachs AG. Haerter had extended his contract as CEO by one year after the ZF board of management made a request.