Continental AG taps former Peguform CEO Gerhard Boehm

Article by Christian A., on January 21, 2011

Continental AG brought in Gerhard Boehm, a 53-year-old powertrain engineer with Chief Executive Officer experience at Peguform, to head its engine-management systems unit effective Jan. 1, 2011. Boehm replaced Peter Gutzmer, an executive vice president of Schaeffler Group, as head of the unit. Schaeffler Group is Continental's controlling shareholder.

For over a year, the 57-year-old Gutzmer had been acting chief of the company’s Engine Systems business unit, in addition to his other responsibilities. Jose Avila, head of Continental's powertrain division, said the company is "grateful" to Gutzmer for bearing this extra responsibility since September 2009 and for successfully stabilizing the unit.

Avila added that Gutzmer will focus on his roles as president of technical product development for Schaeffler Group and executive vice president of Schaeffler Group Automotive.

Since 2008, Boehm had been a business consultant, when left as CEO of Peguform GmbH -- automotive-interiors and plastics supplier -- after the company was sold to Austria's Polytec Group. He was responsible for steering Peguform through a restructuring process between 2005 and the end of 2008, allowing the company to return to profit before its eventual sale to Polytec.

Boehm held various senior positions between 1999 and 2005 at Federal Mogul, a supplier of engine components for the auto industry. Boehm started his career at aluminum producer Alcan, where his responsibilities included oversight of the company’s piston business.

Continental’s Engine Systems business unit develops and manufactures fuel-management and injection systems for diesel and gasoline mills.

Headquartered in Hanover, Germany, Continental AG was founded nearly 140 years ago in 1871 as Continental-Caoutchouc und Gutta-Percha Compagnie, a rubber manufacturer. Nearly 30 years later in 1898, Continental commenced development and production of the vehicle tires with plain tread. In 1904, Continental was first tire maker to produced grooved vehicle tires. It was also responsible for creating detachable wheel tires for touring vehicles in 1905.

In the late 1920s, Continental combined with several other major rubber industry companies, thereby forming Continental Gummi-Werke AG. It acquired Siemens AG's VDO in 2007 for EUR11.4 billion, but seemed overextended with the integration. This saw Continental lose nearly half of its market capitalization since.

Following a protracted standoff, Continental agreed to be acquired by the smaller Schaeffler Group in August 2008. The takeover agreement – which valued Continental at around EUR12 billion – had the Schaeffler Group agree to limit its position to less than 50 percent for four years while supporting Continental's ongoing strategy.

The family-owned Schaeffler Group directly and indirectly holds a stake of 75 percent in Continental. In 2009, Schaeffler was able to install the head of its motor division -- Elmar Degenhart – as the new CEO of Continental.

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