Marloes van Kooten to join Witt Group Management Board

Hamburg, 21.11.2023 - Marloes van Kooten will join the Witt Group management team on 01 March 2024. Following a six-month onboarding period, on 01 September 2024 she will succeed Stefanie Zühlke-Schmidt as Managing Director Purchasing, who will then retire.

Netherlands-born Marloes van Kooten brings with her some three decades of textile industry experience. In 1994 she launched her fashion career in the Woman's Knitwear Purchasing Department at Esprit, before joining her parents' textile import company as co-owner two years later. In 2014 she joined Tommy Hilfiger and started her career in the PVH Group as Vice President Product Development, Sourcing and Production Calvin Klein Europe. In her last role there, as Vice President Value Chain Digitalization she held responsibility for the digital transformation of the design and product-development processes at Tommy Hilfiger Global and Calvin Klein Europe.

Dr. Marcus Ackermann, Member of the Otto Group Executive Board, Multichannel Distance Selling, and Chairman of the Witt Group Advisory Board, comments: "Marloes van Kooten has gathered many years of textile industry experience and is an expert on new textile-market developments. With her impressive fashion expertise she is best-placed to take over responsibility for Purchasing at the Witt Group in future. Together with her colleagues on the Management Board she will continue to drive the Witt Group forward as a successful focus company within the Otto Group."

Patrick Boos, CEO Witt Group: "I am very much looking forward to working with Marloes. In her we gain a Management Board colleague who thinks simultaneously in a team and goal-orientated way – two vital success factors for the Witt Group."

In her upcoming role as a Member of the Witt Group Management Board, following a six-month onboarding period Marloes van Kooten will succeed Stefanie Zühlke-Schmidt with effect from 01 September 2024. Stefanie will continue to head Witt Group Purchasing until 31 August 2024 and then retire. 

Stefanie Zühlke-Schmidt launched her career at Neckermann, and in 2001 rose to become Director of Childrenswear, Underwear, Sportswear, Footwear, and Jewellery. In 2005 she took over responsibility for Womenswear. In October 2008 she was named Managing Director Purchasing Witt Group and today still holds responsibility for the full range of Purchasing activities across its Sourcing, Quality Management, Procurement, Purchasing Management, Assortment Management, Marketing, Creativity Management, and Corporate Responsibility Divisions, as well as Purchasing Digitalization & Strategy. In her 15 years as Managing Director Purchasing, Stefanie has completely redesigned the Purchasing organization's structures and processes and has given it a strongly forward-facing orientation. One outstanding example is how she aligned the structure of Purchasing and the product assortment with specific style types, thus giving Purchasing a clear target-group orientation.

Stefanie Zühlke-Schmidt has also played a major role in driving the digital transformation of Purchasing. Furthermore, she accompanied the process and system integration in Purchasing with great commitment and resounding success as part of the integration of the Heine brand in the Witt Group, on a specialist as well as a company-culture level. Stefanie has had a very significant impact on culture and cooperation within the Witt Group: as a trained and passionate choir director, she still leads the company choir 'SingingWitt', which has become well-
known even beyond the region.

Patrick Boos comments on her decision to retire: "In Stefanie Zühlke-Schmidt we are losing a highly experienced colleague, one who has led Witt Group Purchasing to make enormous progress from both a professional and a personal perspective. Even though there are still a few months to go before we say goodbye, I would like to say a heartfelt thank-you in advance for our great collaboration, her decades of tremendous commitment and her very substantial contribution to the successful development of the Witt Group."

Dr. Marcus Ackermann concurs: "Stefanie Zühlke-Schmidt has taken Purchasing at the Witt Group to a whole new level since 2008. The Witt Group also owes its successes over the last 15 years to her expertise, strong leadership and courage. On behalf of the entire Otto Group Executive Board, I would like to express my warmest thanks to Stefanie for this. I wish her all the very best for the future, great good health – and plenty of time to enjoy the finer things in life!"

More Information

Media Contact

Martin Zander
+49 40 6461 2820

Judith Weigl
+49 961 400 1355

About the Otto Group

Founded in Germany in 1949, today the Otto Group is a globally active retail and services group with around 41,000 employees in 30 major company groups primarily active in the economic regions of Germany, the rest of Europe, and the USA. Its business activities span the Platforms, Brand Concepts, Retailers, Services and Financial Services segments. In the 2022/23 financial year (to 28 February) the Otto Group generated revenues of 16.2 billion euros. With online revenues of approximately 12 billion euros, the Otto Group is one of the world’s largest online retailers. The Group’s particular strength is the broad market presence of its differentiated product assortments and service offers to diverse customer target groups in the world’s relevant economic regions. Numerous strategic partnerships and joint ventures provide the Otto Group with excellent opportunities to transfer know-how and leverage areas of synergy potential. Group companies demonstrate a high degree of corporate responsibility and willingness to collaborate with one another; at the same time this guarantees flexibility, customer proximity and optimal target-group appeal in their respective national markets.

About the Witt Group

With 21.9 million customers worldwide, sales revenues of EUR 1.178 billion (IFRS) in the 2022/23 financial year and an online sales share of around 41 percent, the Witt Group is one of the leading textile omnichannel companies serving the 50-plus customer target group. The Group is currently active with nine brands in ten countries; these include the Witt Weiden brand founded in 1907, as well as 22 online shops. Since the end of 2019 the Heine brand has also been part of the Witt Group. With around 3,700 employees, the Witt Group is not only one of the Upper Palatinate's largest employers but also one of the most popular in Germany: in 2023 the company was named a Top Employer for the eleventh time in a row. The Weiden-based firm has been an Otto Group company since 1987. For more information please visit: www.witt-gruppe.eu.

On this website Otto Group partly uses cookies which, based on the usage behavior, allow certain functions, such as an analysis of the use of the website.