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Maurer replaces Riske as Linde chief Newsletter #409 - May 7, 2009
Theodor Maurer, CEO of Linde Material Handling
Theodor Maurer, CEO of Linde Material Handling

Gordon Riske has stepped down as CEO of Linde Material Handling GmbH to focus on running the KION Group.

Linde sales director Theodor Maurer, 49, is now CEO of Linde Material Handling.

The moves are part of KION Group GmbH's reorganisation of senior management teams at its holding company and brand companies.

"When KION was established, the first organisation [of senior management] had to make sure the brands became true members of the KION Group. Therefore the CEOs of the two large brands - Linde and Still - were also KION board members," KION spokesperson Michael Hauger says.

"Now, as the procedures and cultures of Kion have been successfully established, we focus again on the brands' management."

Riske, CEO of the KION Group, says: "By creating totally separate, focused management teams for our holding company and its brand companies, we are fully aligning the group's management bodies with our corporate strategy. This significantly reinforces our customer orientation.

"At the same time it ensures we can focus fully on reaping synergies throughout our organisation and exploiting the strategic opportunities available during the current crisis."

Before May 1, Riske, 51, was CEO of both KION and Linde. He now focuses on running KION and will become KION chief operating officer (COO). Dr Rolf Karg, 59, was COO at KION and CEO of Still GmbH. Karg has stepped down from KION's executive board to focus on running Still and managing the cross-brand synergies of the group's forklift plants.

"We are very grateful to Dr Karg for his successful role as COO of the KION Group," Riske says. "Dr Karg has made a major contribution to the cross-brand synergies that have been comprehensively exploited in production and has promoted partnership between the brands in the KION Group."

Hauger told News that although Karg has stepped down as COO, he continues to be responsible for cross-brand control and the optimisation of truck production because of his extensive experience as a production manager.

"The introduction of a common production system in all truck factories, which was initiated and realised by Dr Karg, is one of the most important steps to create cross-brand synergies," Hauger says.

Harold Pinger, 49, remains chief financial officer of the group. That means KION's executive board has been reduced to two members.

Maurer, who became CEO of Linde Material Handling on May 1, will also be Linde's labour relations director.

Christophe Lautray, 47, and Heinz Baumgarten, 60, have been appointed to Linde's management board. Lautray, who is managing director of Linde's French subsidiary, Fenwick, will be responsible for sales and aftersales. Baumgarten, Linde Material Handling's head of production, will be in charge of production for the Linde brand. Dr Matthias Schmitz, 45, finance and IT director, and Klaus Hofmann, 55, who is responsible for hydraulics, continue to serve on Linde's management board.

Jérôme Wencker, 39, who is responsible for sales and service at Fenwick, succeeds Lautray as Fenwick's managing director.

The KION Group, with its Linde, Still, OM and Baoli brands, is Europe's market leader in industrial trucks. It employed more than 21,000 people and generated about GBP4.6 billion (USD6.8 billion) in revenue in its 2008 financial year.