Friedrichshafen. Dr. Stefan Sommer will be the new CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG and will succeed Hans-Georg Härter at ZF's top level. This was decided unanimously by the automotive supplier's Supervisory Board. Sommer has been part of ZF since 2008 and
has been a member of the Board of Management responsible for the Supply Chain Management and Purchasing Domain since October 2010. At last, he was also head of the project regarding the Group's strategic restructuring.
At the beginning of 2012, Dr. Stefan Sommer will initially be Deputy CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG and then, from May 1 onwards, he will succeed Hans-Georg Härter as CEO. This schedule was approved unanimously by ZF's Supervisory Board. "The solution found was the desired solution and also preferred by the two ZF shareholders, the Zeppelin Foundation and the Dr. Jürgen and Irmgard Ulderup Foundation," said Friedrichshafen's First Mayor, Andreas Brand, and Dr. Joachim Meinecke, representative of the Ulderup Foundation.
"This change, however, does not mean a real changeover - on the contrary, it is a clear sign of continuity," says ZF's Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Giorgio Behr. "Dr. Stefan Sommer is a guarantor for the continuation of the company's strategic direction". Behr continues: "Dr. Stefan Sommer contributes his profound knowledge of the supplier industry which he gained from diverse top management functions at
Conti and ZF."
"I am very pleased with the solution found," says ZF's CEO Härter. "As CEO of ZF Sachs AG, Dr. Sommer already promoted the development of products for electro mobility. As Head of Materials Management of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, he knows about the market conditions of the strategically important topics of lightweight design and electromobility."
Dr. Stefan Sommer was born in 1963 in Münster, Germany. After studying Mechanical Engineering at the Ruhr University Bochum, he did his PhD at the Professorship of Control Engineering and Embedded Systems. Since 1994, Sommer has been development engineer at ITT Automotive Europe GmbH in Frankfurt. From 1997 onwards, he was initially responsible for the development of electronics and sensors at
Continental Automotive Systems in Hanover, and, from 2000 onwards, he was Head of Development for electronic pneumatic suspension systems.
In 2003, Dr. Stefan Sommer changed to Continental Temic to Ingolstadt, where he was Head of the Occupant Protection Systems department. At the beginning of 2005, Mr. Sommer went to Continental Automotive Systems in Frankfurt am Main, where he initially managed the Electronic Brake Systems Profit Center and as of fall 2007, he was in charge of the Customer Center for Electronic Brake Systems. In mid-2008, Mr. Sommer started at ZF Sachs AG where he became Head of the Suspension Division, before, in October 2010, ZF's Supervisory Board appointed him to the Group's Board of Management responsible for Materials Management.
A few weeks ago, 66-year-old Hans-Georg Härter prolonged his contract as ZF's CEO expiring at the end of 2011 by one year at the request of ZF's Supervisory Board. Starting at the beginning of 2012, he will gradually pass on the business to Dr. Stefan Sommer and will retire at the end of April 2012, shortly before he turns 67.