It’s official Ruthmann chief executive Rolf Kulawik will retire this summer.
Rumoured for some time, it has now been confirmed that he will hand over the reins to his long time colleague Uwe Strotmann at the start of July. Although he is leaving, he will remain available in an advisory role when required.
When he took over the top job annual revenues were in the region of €50 million, and the company mainly sold its products in the ‘core’ German speaking region. In 2011, his first full year at the helm sales rocketed to €75.7 million and the company had started expanding its geographical footprint. In the 13 years since then he has continued to carefully develop the company to point where revenues have grown to around €170 million with 600 employees.
The growth has been helped by a number of acquisitions including manufacturer the Marti Group/Bluelift in Italy and a number distribution companies, in Switzerland, the USA and Hungary, while he closed Ruthmann subsidiary companies in Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary in favour of independent distributors. As to service revenues his first responsibility at Ruthmann? Revenues have gone from €9 million to €22 million since 2009, with 11 wholly owned service stations in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
Last January the company was acquired by Time Versalift.
Speaking of his time at Ruthmann Kulawik said: "I have enjoyed many exciting new developments and the many challenges, large and small, in the industry. A long, successful activity creates deep satisfaction and that is only possible with a great team, which I would like to thank at this point. But this would also not have been possible without our customers, dealers, suppliers and service providers, so a big thank you to our business partners as well."
Uwe Strotmann began his career at Ruthmann in April 1994 and joined the management team as sales manager in 2010. In addition to his role at Ruthmann he will replace Kulawik on Time Manufacturing Company board in Waco, Texas.
"With Uwe Strotmann, an experienced manager is taking over my role,” said Kulawik, “he stands for the success of Ruthmann and thus ensures continuity."
The other key members in the management team are: Annette Timpe head of human resources and new authorised signatory for Ruthmann.
Stefan Linnemann who was previously managing director of Ruthmann Finance, will take over Strotmann’s role as head sales, marketing and the used equipment division. He will also be an authorised signatory for the company, along with commercial manager Uwe Stapper and Nico Krekeler who heads the development and design departments.
Speaking of the changeover Uwe Strotman said: "We owe Rolf Kulawik the uninterrupted success of the last 13 years and are glad that he will continue to be associated with Ruthmann and will be available to us in an advisory capacity."