Changes to the Otto Group Executive Board - Appointment of a Management Board for the company OTTO

11.06.2012 | Hamburg

Otto Group, the international retail and services company, has given its Executive Board a new and clear allocation of executive functions. The goal is consistent separation of responsibility for the Group and for the company OTTO. Taking effect on August 1, 2012, the responsibilities of the Otto Group Board Members Dr Rainer Hillebrand, Alexander Birken and Dr Michael Heller will therefore change. In order to emphasise the autonomy and significance of OTTO's core business, a Management Board will be nominated below the Group Executive Board and will focus exclusively on the fortunes of the company OTTO.

“With the Executive Board Members’ concentration on key Otto Group strategic tasks and the creation of a Management Board for the company OTTO, we are sending a clear signal regarding the continued strong performance of both the Group and of OTTO”, emphasizes the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr Michael Otto. To date, the Group Executive Board has been responsible for the operational management of the company OTTO, which at around 2 billion euros represents 17 percent of consolidated Group sales. This is now set to change. All decisions are subject to the committees’ approval.

Dr Rainer Hillebrand, 56, Vice Chairman of the Executive Board Otto Group, will assume a central role on the Group Executive Board. He is responsible for the Otto Group's major fields of Corporate Strategy, E-Commerce and Business Intelligence. The main function for this long-standing Member of the Executive Board will be to manage the e-commerce activities of the world's second largest online retailer (BtoC) and lead it into the future. This includes the more than 50 online shops of the Group’s multichannel retailers like MyToys, the pure online players such as Limango, Mirapodo, and the Shopping24 group, as well as corporate venture activities such as E-Venture Capital Partners and Project A, with a three-digit million investment. In order to dedicate himself to these new responsibilities with full attention, Dr Rainer Hillebrand gives up his operational role as Spokesman of OTTO and as Board Member for Marketing, Service and E-Commerce OTTO.

Alexander Birken, 47, as a Member of the Group Executive Board in addition to his successful expansion of Otto Group Russia and other corporate responsibilities, will further advance the strategic development of the core business entities OTTO, Baur and Schwab in future. The Otto Group has announced that it will manage the three mail-order brands with considerably more synergy in future. Alexander Birken will become Spokesman for the company OTTO. Most recently, he was responsible for the areas of Human Resources, Controlling and IT for OTTO. Birken now hands these operational functions to the new OTTO Management Board.

Dr Michael Heller, 45, will concentrate primarily on the company OTTO as Member of the OTTO Management Board. Just last year he assumed overall responsibility for Supply and Category Management at the company OTTO and therefore took on an extraordinary package of functions. Supply and Category Management combines all related functions such as Purchasing, Marketing and Supply Management for all of OTTO’s national and international activities and forms the core of the largest online retailer for fashion and lifestyle (BtoC) in Germany. Dr Michael Heller gives up his mandate as Member of the Executive Board to become Deputy Spokesman of the core company OTTO and at the request of the Supervisory Board Chairman, remains responsible for the Otto Group in Japan.

The new OTTO Management Board
For the company OTTO, a separate executive company management will be appointed for the first time and will direct the future of the Otto Group’s core company exclusively and with full authority. In addition to Dr Michael Heller, Marc Opelt and Petra Scharner-Wolff will also be appointed as Members of the Management Board within the company OTTO’s new leadership structure.

Marc Opelt, 49, will become Member of the OTTO Management Board for Marketing, Service and E-Commerce. The Master of Business Administration has been working in various capacities at the Otto Group since 1990, including Marketing for OTTO, as the initiator and CEO for OTTO Office and as Divisional Vice President of Eddie Bauer in the United States. Since 2005, Opelt has been Managing Director of Marketing, Sales, Advertising and E-Commerce − and since 2009, also Chairman of the General Management of the Baur Group in Burgkunstadt. Opelt has primarily built his reputation as an experienced and creative marketing and e-commerce strategist. In order to ensure that his successor at Baur is selected with the necessary care, Opelt will continue his Chairmanship of Baur’s General Management until February 28, 2013 and therefore through to the end of the financial year.

Petra Scharner-Wolff, 41, will take responsibility for Human Resources, Controlling and IT as a Member of the OTTO Management Board. After working for a consulting firm and for the Otto Group as Director of Group Controlling Shareholdings, this Master in Business Administration has worked for the Schwab Group as Chairman General Management in Hanau since 2007, where she is responsible for Controlling and Support. Petra Scharner-Wolff was able to impressively highlight her outstanding achievements at Schwab with the successful establishment of the Sheego fashion concept. Her successor at Schwab is covered. Since June 1, Sabine Tietz, 48, is responsible for the Sheego brand as General Manager, including Multichannel Controlling and Sales. Next to her and an additional, still vacant General Manager position, is Dr Udo Hartmann, 57, up to now Division Manager Finance and Controlling. He will be responsible in Schwab’s General Management for the specialist areas previously supervised by Petra Scharner-Wolff.

“With Dr Michael Heller, Marc Opelt and Petra Scharner-Wolff, we are delighted to have gained experienced, successful and creative managers for the management of the company OTTO and we wish the new Management Board all the very best”, emphasizes Dr Michael Otto.


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