Continental’s Setzer appointed to new Automotive role; Kötz named Tire division head

Nikolai Setzer has been named spokesman for the new Automotive Board; Christian Kötz succeeds him as head of the Tire division and Corporate Purchasing

At a meeting on 14 March, the Supervisory Board of German tyre and automotive systems maker Continental approved the next stage of one of the largest organisational changes in its history. Several new appointments at Executive Board level were announced, including the transfer of Nikolai Setzer to the company’s Automotive Group.

Setzer, currently head of Continental’s Tire division and responsible for Corporate Purchasing, will join the Automotive Group on 1 April. Here, he will assume the new position of spokesman for the Automotive Board and will be in charge of maintaining a unified business strategy in this area. His responsibilities cover a range of global Automotive corporate functions, including Purchasing, Key Account Management, Supply Chain Management, and Automotive Manufacturing. Starting 1 January 2020, his team will be strengthened with the appointment of a chief technology officer (CTO) of Automotive, under whose leadership Continental will combine part of its automotive development activities.

As a result of Setzer’s change in role, the Supervisory Board also brought forward the renewal of his tenure as an Executive Board member; he is now signed up for a further five years, until the end of March 2024.

Christian Kötz, who currently heads the Commercial Vehicle Tires business unit, will succeed Setzer as head of the Tire division and Corporate Purchasing. He will start in this capacity on 1 April. Along with this new role, Kötz joins the Continental Executive Board. He has been appointed for a three-year term that expires at the end of March 2022.

Due to the changes in the Automotive area, the Supervisory Board also extended the appointments of Executive Board members Frank Jourdan and Helmut Matschi ahead of time. Their membership will now continue until the end of March 2024. It also extended the appointment of chief financial officer Wolfgang Schäfer, which was due to expire this year, by five years to the end of 2024. In addition to Finance, Schäfer is responsible for Controlling, Compliance, Legal and IT. The appointments of the remaining members of the Executive Board were not up for extension.

“With today’s decisions on Executive Board personnel, we are supporting the current process of reorganisation,” commented Professor Wolfgang Reitzle, chairman of the Continental AG Supervisory Board, subsequent to the 14 March meeting. “At the same time, we are safeguarding the experience and continuity in corporate management that will be critical to the success of this endeavour. In Mr Setzer, our Automotive management team has gained a strategic expert with a successful track record and worldwide experience in the automotive industry.

“On behalf of my colleagues on the Supervisory Board, I would like to thank all members of the Executive Board for the successful work that they have done to date,” Reitzle continued. “We are looking forward to accomplishing more and more with this first-class team. We wish all members of the Executive Board, and the new team member Christian Kötz in particular, the best of luck in tackling the challenges facing the company now and in the future.”

New Automotive Board: quicker, decentralised decision-making

Continental says the newly established Automotive Board is “an expression of the increased decentralisation of responsibility” that the company is pursuing worldwide. Starting on 1 April 2019, it will lighten the load of the corporate Executive Board and also play a key role in shaping the ongoing transformation process in the Automotive area. In addition to spokesman Nikolai Setzer, the members of this board include the members of the Executive Board Frank Jourdan, president Chassis & Safety division; and Helmut Matschi, president Interior division. The board will be completed with Dr Dirk Abendroth, chief technology officer of Automotive; as well as the heads of Finance & Controlling and Human Relations for Automotive, who have yet to be appointed.

The duties of the new body will include speeding up decision-making processes and generating synergies from the closer links between the Chassis & Safety and Interior divisions. Furthermore, its decisions will help to make the most of the potential for growth in important business areas for the future. These include autonomous driving, the interconnection of vehicle and mobility systems, and information management.

Commenting on the appointments, Dr Elmar Degenhart, chief executive officer of Continental, said: “With these latest decisions, we are substantiating our new organisational framework in key areas. It fosters our network culture, which we have been developing for many years. Key objectives here include increased empowerment and self-organisation, faster decision-making processes, and utmost agility.

“This means that we continue to be programmed for rapid growth,” Degenhart added. “We are continuing to develop our organisation into the leading technology company in our industries and the most attractive, progressive employer. Continental’s global team has been working successfully to achieve this for years. I would like to thank all my colleagues on the Executive Board and, on their behalf, all management personnel and employees for the valuable contributions that they have made to our success to date. At the same time, I am looking forward to working with our new Executive Board member Christian Kötz and would like to wish him the best of luck in his new role.”


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