Johnson Controls Inc.’s seating business in Europe has been given a huge boost this year because of two key acquisitions spearheaded by Beda Bolzenius.
The head of JCI’s automotive experience unit played a leading role in the U.S.-based supplier’s purchase of German seat specialists C. Rob. Hammerstein Group, Keiper and Keiper’s specialty seat business, Recaro.
JCI paid about $496 million to get Keiper and Recaro and approximately $581 million to acquire C. Rob. Hammerstein. What it gets in return is well over $1 billion in business with major European players such as BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Mini.
Keiper and Recaro’s product lineup includes mechanisms that adjust seat length and height and recliners that adjust the backrest position of vehicle seats. The acquisition includes Recaro’s automotive sport and specialty seat portfolio.
JCI plans to combine its expertise with CRH’s to develop lightweight seats for future vehicles.
To help their customers boost fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions, seat makers are being challenged to make their products leaner, but they must do so without compromising on safety.
It’s a difficult challenge but its something Bolzenius is used to after five years in his current job leading the company’s global seating, interiors and electronics business.
Prior to this promotion in 2006, the German national headed JCI’s automotive interiors business in Europe. He joined JCI in November 2004 after 18 years with Robert Bosch.