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At the start of 2017, the 51-year-old took on the role of regional account manager for North America and global key account manager for Fiat Chrysler and General Motors. In this interview, he talks about his plans.

You want to assemble a completely new team – why is that?
Unfortunately, the previous team left the company in the summer of 2016, so ContiTech needed appropriate successors. I took this opportunity because it was in line with my personal and professional growth plans. I’m glad to be taking on the role of new head of the OE team and to now be a contributing part of the global Power Transmission Group team.

What did you do previously?
I’ve been in the automotive industry for almost 30 years. I started off in design, application engineering and development. Later I switched to the commercial side, where I worked in business development and account management. Most recently, I was the senior account manager for an automotive supplier.

And what’s the next step at ContiTech now – for you and for the company?
My short-term goal is to re-establish customer relationships with Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors and to continue the ongoing programs activities. This has already paid off in my short tenure. Our first belt in oil North American program was recently awarded to us by a major original equipment manufacturer. Of course, to do all of this I need a strong local team (in conjunction with the global teams) and want to hire another two application engineers this year. I am planning to add two more application engineers and a sales coordinator next year. Talks with applicants are already ongoing. And what’s planned for the long term? In the long term, I want to further expand our market share and enlarge the team until it’s able to handle this growth.

A difficult task?
It certainly won’t be easy. I see the largest challenges in customers’ cost-saving initiatives, the intense competition in the market place from other global belt producers and also the availability of suitable candidates. The American market is currently very active. But this is where I stick to my motto in life: Hard work pays off.

Where do you find the strength for all this hard work?
I mainly recharge my batteries by playing sports like soccer, golf and volleyball.

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