Continental Restructures Top Management Ahead of 2020 Reorganization

March 15, 2019

The latest step in Continental AG’s reorganization, which is set to be implemented in 2020, involves the top leadership of the company’s tire and automotive sectors.

Continental AG’s supervisory board has approved the transfer of executive board member Nikolai Setzer, 47, who is currently responsible for the tire division and corporate purchasing, to Continental’s automotive group on April 1, 2019.

Setzer will assume the new position of spokesman for the Automotive Board and will be in charge of maintaining a unified business strategy in that area. His responsibilities will comprise a range of global automotive corporate functions, including purchasing, key account management, supply chain management, and automotive manufacturing. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, his team will add achief technology officer (CTO) of automotive, under whose leadership Continental will combine part of its automotive development activities.

The supervisory board has extended, ahead of time, the appointment of Setzer as a member of the executive board by five years to the end of March 2024 as a result of his change in role.

Succeeding Setzer as head of the tire division and corporate purchasing will be a new member of the executive board, Christian Kötz, 48. Kötz, who currently heads the commercial vehicle tires business unit, will assume his new role on April 1, 2019. His appointment will run for three years until 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, 58, and Helmut Matschi, 55, ahead of time until the end of March 2024. It has also extended the appointment of CFO Wolfgang Schäfer, 59, 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.

Continental’s newly established Automotive Board reflects a goal to decentralize responsibility worldwide. In addition to the spokesman Nikolai Setzer, the members of the board include the members of the executive board Frank Jourdan (58), president chassis and safety division; and Helmut Matschi, president interior division. The board will be completed with Dr. Dirk Abendroth (43), chief technology officer of automotive; as well as the heads of finance and controlling and human relations for automotive, who have yet to be appointed.

Continental says the duties of the new body will include speeding up decision-making processes and generating synergies from the closer links between the chassis and 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, including autonomous driving, the interconnection of vehicle and mobility systems, and information management.

“With these latest decisions, we are substantiating our new organizational framework in key areas. It fosters our network culture, which we have been developing for many years,” says said Continental CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart.

“Key objectives here include increased empowerment and self-organization, faster decision-making processes, and utmost agility. This means that we continue to be programmed for rapid growth. We are continuing to develop our organization into the leading technology company in our industries and the most attractive, progressive employer.”

Continental announced a sweeping reorganization plan that would create three business sectors in July 2018. For details, see “Continental Announces Reorganization With an Eye on Increasing Sales.