Friedrichshafen, Germany — Fakuma 2015 was the first opportunity for Frank Stieler to take to a public stage as the new CEO of KraussMaffei Group GmbH.
Since joining in June, after holding top management positions at Lurgi AG, Siemens AG and Hochtief AG, he has been busy learning about the plastics industry and KM’s customers and broad technology portfolio, which spans the KM and Netstal injection moulding machinery brands, Berstorff extrusion technology and its polyurethane machinery business.
“If you want me to talk about strategy, you will be disappointed,” he told journalists at the KM news conference on 14 Oct at Fakuma in Friedrichshafen. “I will not speak about strategy before 100 days in the job.”
Stieler takes over from previous CEO Jan Siebert in a year when KM group, based in Munich, already is in good shape. Sales from January-June 2015 were 576 million euros, up nearly 11 percent from 521 million euros in the first half of 2014.
Stieler puts the group’s success down to its staff.
“I have worked for many companies, but I’ve never worked with people who support their products, technology and brands with such enthusiasm,” he said.
He expects this enthusiasm to continue, but his aim is to “lend even higher efficiency to these people because we have everything on board to be successful.”
Caroline Seidel Production at KraussMaffei's Fakuma booth.
Stieler may be reluctant to talk about his plans at this stage, but he made it clear that the customer will come first in the company’s strategy. “Whether a company grows, shrinks, opens new sites, it’s the customer who decides this, no one else,” he said.
A strong customer service organization is a priority for him. “This has been working well in the past and will continue in the future,” he said.
During the Q&A session, Stieler responded to a question about the automotive market and whether KM thinks demand will suffer from any fall-out in the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal. He replied: “We assume demand in the automotive market will further develop. The volumes maybe will shift from one company to another. But I don’t think that total demand volume in the market will decline.”
The KM group’s enthusiasm for products, technology and brands, highlighted by Stieler, was seen in key exhibits on its Fakuma stand.