Generational change in the boardroom

DEKRA realigns Supervisory and Management Boards

At their regular meetings on April 6, 2022, the DEKRA e.V. Presidential Board and DEKRA SE Supervisory Board decided with immediate effect to undertake a future-facing realignment of the expert organization’s Management and Supervisory Boards. The previous Chairman of the Management Board, Stefan Kölbl, will now chair the top-level supervisory bodies of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA SE. This puts a proven industry expert with more than 25 years of experience in testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) in charge of the supervisory committees. As the new Chairman of the DEKRA e.V. Management Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DEKRA SE, Stan Zurkiewicz will now be tasked with operational management of the Group. The incoming CEO was the organization’s Asia chief for many years, and his last role was as Chief Operating Officer (COO). The Chairman of the Presidential and Supervisory Boards, Thomas Pleines, is stepping aside from his duties after many years of successful service to DEKRA.

DEKRA CEO Zurkiewicz and Supervisory Board Chairman Kölbl
  • Thomas Pleines, 66, resigns from Supervisory Board duties
  • As new Chairman of the Presidential Board, Stefan Kölbl, 54, moves into DEKRA e.V.’s highest supervisory body and assumes leadership of DEKRA SE Supervisory Board
  • Stan Zurkiewicz, 42, appointed Chairman of the Management Board of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA SE
  • Wolfgang Linsenmaier, 56, and Ulrike Hetzel, 49, complete the Management Board

Pleines had been active on various DEKRA senior management committees since December 2000 and had chaired both the DEKRA e.V. Presidential Board and the DEKRA SE Supervisory Board since May 2011. He is now looking forward to devoting more of his time to his personal pursuits. In recognition of his extraordinary service to the company, the Presidential Board has awarded Pleines the title of Honorary Chairman from the end of his previous tenure – a designation which will see him retain firm ties with the organization. “From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the Presidential Board, the Supervisory Board, and Stefan Kölbl in particular for the close and successful working relationships we enjoyed together over the course of decades. It fills me with satisfaction and pride that we can now deliver both continuity and change in the top management team. In doing so, we are ensuring the continuation of our 20-plus-year success story while plotting a course ahead for the challenges of digital transformation,” Pleines says.

With Kölbl’s appointment, one of the most experienced chief executives in the industry will be heading up DEKRA’s supervisory bodies. “With the DEKRA Strategy 2025 program – including the strategic focus on technical and digital safety and security as well as sustainability services – we have created a strong foundation for our position over the coming years. I want to give special thanks to Thomas Pleines for his many years of excellent service to the organization, and I wish him all the very best for this new chapter of his life,” Kölbl says.

Since his appointment as Management Board Chairman in 2010, Kölbl has almost tripled the value of DEKRA. Over the same period, revenue has more than doubled to the current €3.5 billion, profit has increased by 130%, and the number of employees has grown from around 22,000 at the end of 2009 to around 46,500 in 2021. In addition, the company developed a much stronger international focus, with the DEKRA group of companies now operating globally in 60-plus countries across five continents.

The Management Board team is being reduced from four to three positions as part of this change. In addition to the operational business, Zurkiewicz’s responsibilities now include the regions, global marketing and sales, corporate strategy and development, and corporate communications. “It will be my pleasure to take on this great challenge. With Strategy 2025 and our digital agenda, the foundations are in place for future growth. We will take a proactive approach to the continued digital transformation of our services and prioritize efforts to enhance our presence in the North American and Asian markets in particular,” Zurkiewicz says.

Wolfgang Linsenmaier – who will remain in charge of the Group’s development and performance as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA SE – will also take on responsibility for legal and compliance, auditing, and change management. Ulrike Hetzel, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of DEKRA SE, will continue to be responsible for the strategic development of the Service Divisions, innovation management, and global IT.

DEKRA SE will be presenting an excellent set of key data with new record values for 2021 at the Annual Press Conference in three weeks at the end of the Kölbl era, demonstrating strong organizational resilience during the coronavirus crisis. “It is an excellent time to make these changes. I wish the whole Management Board continued success and the best of luck as they take the reins of the organization. Going forward, I will be taking greater advantage of my entrepreneurial freedom as well as addressing new personal priorities. I would like to thank all 46,500 DEKRA employees around the world – without them, we would not have been able to achieve the great progress we have made,” said Kölbl.