Joachim Kath, who had been working as COO under retiring CEO Siegfried Winkelbeiner for the past year and a half, has taken the reins of the 153-year-old textile manufacturer Schoeller, whose technical fabrics and finishing technologies are integrated into numerous outdoor products.
Kath comes from the chemical industry, where his 30-plus year career has focused on engineering, production, marketing, and sales in a variety of management functions and business segments. His work experience includes 12 years in textile finishing.
“The common thread running through all my assignments and business activities is process orientation, interest in new paths, and an instinct for what is feasible—with the goal of achieving customer benefits and satisfaction,” Kath said.
The transition should be smooth for Schoeller, and not just because Winkelbeiner and Kath have worked closely together for the last 18 months. The two executives knew each other from previous work and joint international projects at Ciba-Geigy AG and BASF SE.
Winkelbeiner, who spent 10 years with the company and will retire later this month, leaves Schoeller after plenty of highs and lows, such as navigating the company through currency fluctuations (including the appreciation of the Swiss franc) and, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic. He summed up his tenure at Schoeller like this: “Throughout the years, we have compared Schoeller to a ship under sail and have had to weather many a stormy challenge.”
Schoeller said Kath—who joined the company in February 2020, before the pandemic began ravaging the world—is now charged with guiding Schoeller through the “challenges of changing market requirements with outstanding and exceptional products, while evolving and innovating to stay ahead of consumer needs for the future.”