The vital role played by strong management has long been recognised by everyone from employees to investors, as has the value of fresh ideas, new impetus and the sort of innovative mindset needed to stay ahead in rapidly-changing markets. Time and again it has been reiterated in academic studies which, while recognising changing landscapes, reiterate the basics.

One recent example saw more than 350 mid-sized manufacturers in Germany, examined by the Institute for Employment Research, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the London School of Economics, highlighted the recruitment value of better-managed organisations in retaining top talent. Big thinkers such as the US organisational psychologist Abraham Zaleznik and the science writer Daniel Goleman are known to have fundamentally changed the way we look at leadership.

But many cite the godfather of such thinking as W.C.H. Prentice who in wrote a seminal 1961 article rejecting the notion of leadership as the exercise of power, defining it instead as “the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants”, something of a philosophy of democratic leadership that endures today.

The modern C-suite has to embrace an understanding of not just domestic and international markets, but international cultures. The way for example, the egalitarian approach of the French, the collaborative ringiseido philosophy of the Japanese or the Leistungswettbewerb approach to competition in Germany feeds into strong relations. Meanwhile, there has been much movement among many of the Achema-related sectors as we detail here: The New Year began with a wave of senior appointments in many key sectors which meant, in some cases, new impetus and, in others, new direction as key stakeholders sought to strengthen their market positions.

Headshots of the new SCHOTT shareholder representatives
Growing team: SCHOTT has recently added six new shareholder representatives to its supervisory board

One of the first to announce was Sulzer with the promotion of Uwe Boltersdorf as Division President Chemtech and a member of the Executive Committee on January 1. He was a key hire. Before joining the company in 2021, he held some senior positions at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, the Lanxess Group, and Bayer. The Supervisory Board of Siemens AG renewed the appointment of Managing Board Member and Chief People and Sustainability Officer Judith Wiese until 2028. She is on the boards of several other organisations, including the European School of Management and Technology and the German Employers’ Association.

SCHOTT added six new shareholder representatives to its Supervisory Board, bringing a broad range of expertise and industry experience to its recently carved-out subsidiary and on a broader level, Susan Rienow, UK Managing Director and Country President of Pfizer, took up her new role as President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, a timely role in view of negotiations for a new Voluntary Scheme for branded medicines pricing between the government, NHS England and the ABPI.

Judith holds a key role in ensuring that Siemens can attract and retain the best people and to create an environment in which they can thrive. At the same time, she has been at the heart of ramping up our sustainability activities as a key pillar of business strategy

Sulzer’s Boltersdorf, a former Global Head of Technologies and Operational Excellence for Chemtech (above, centre), was quick to identify his priorities, outlining the company’s commitment “to improving our operations while identifying new market segments and applications that offer future growth opportunities. Our Ambition 2027 initiative is a driving force behind this effort. We see growth opportunities in all our business models, including mass transfer components, process plants, and licensing.”

Asked how he planned to leverage these opportunities, he prioritised investment in growing markets, citing a new test centre in Singapore as an example and collaboration with industry leaders, something he described as “crucial”.

The company have recently partnered with the BASF catalyst group on an R&D project to support their renewables businesses, with a focus on biofuels and plastic recycling. In the case of Judith Wiese, Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman of the Siemens Supervisory Board, said they recognised “the substantial contribution” she has made since she joined the company two years ago.

He added: “Judith holds a key role in ensuring that Siemens can attract and retain the best people and to create an environment in which they can thrive. At the same time, she has been at the heart of ramping up our sustainability activities as a key pillar of business strategy.  Judith’s open leadership style is a catalyst for the transformation of Siemens.”

Christian Terlinde is due to take over as CFO of German drive specialist Flender. He is currently Group CFO at German commercial vehicle supplier Jost Werke SE. Flender CEO Andreas Evertz made the announcement expressing delight at being able to “win” his services.

“He is the finance and controlling expert that we have been looking for,” he said. “His strong experience as CFO in international industrial and automotive companies as well as his capital markets expertise makes him the perfect fit for our ambitious growth strategy.”

Previous positions included CFO at Benteler Automotive and leading finance roles at Mahle Group and E.ON.

Elsewhere, Ian Clarke, Sales and Marketing Director at InControl has been elected president of the board of the UK trade association the trade association for instrumentation, Control, Automation and Laboratory Technology,  GAMBICA, replacing Steve Leech, Business Manager at Siemens, following his two-year term. And Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thumann announced she was stepping down from her role as member of the Supervisory Board with Katherina Reiche nominated to join in her place.

One of the biggest innovations in recruitment in recent years has been the way AI has been revolutionising the process, communicating client needs, screening CVs and even reducing the time it takes to fill a post. But experts insist it will help rather than inhibit the roles of HR professionals

According to the UK’s HR News, while AI will automate manual tasks, “it cannot fulfill the entire process without human input. The data produced by AI will improve decision-making and automate repetitive administrative tasks to streamline recruiting. Talented recruiters will revolutionise recruitment by tapping into the potential. AI has the potential to make month-long recruitment processes a thing of the past”.