From May 1, 2015 onwards, Holger Ruban (CEO), Ralph Goedecke (IT & Internet) and Bernhard Bach (Finance) will form the new Conrad Board of Directors. Jörn Werner, the current CEO, will leave the company. Fellow executive Bernhard Bach will retire at the end of the year - his successor has already been appointed. However, upon her current employer's request, her name will be kept confidential until she joins Conrad BoD.
Jörn Werner was appointed Conrad CEO as a result of Werner Conrad taking over the role of Chairman of the Administrative Board in early 2012. Werner was the first external CEO in the company's 90 years of history. "Jörn Werner joined at a very crucial time. And turned out to be the perfect man for the job," explains Conrad. "He guided our company along the way to what it is today: a globally operating multi-channel retailer centred around eCommerce". Werner returns the compliment: "I am very proud of what we've all been able to achieve at Conrad over the past years. And I really enjoyed working with everyone." Unlike his predecessor, the new CEO is from our own ranks: until now, Holger Ruban (44) has been responsible for Conrad Holdings' global business operations. Later this year, Bernhard Bach who retires from business will be succeeded by a female executive director, thus ensuring DoB continuity. "I am looking forward to welcoming our new female director to the board," says Werner Conrad, who also recruited 27-year old Lea-Sophie Cramer, CEO of Sonoma Internet GmbH, to the company's administrative board.
Appointing executive directors from within the company also set an example for all company employees: developing a senior management career at Conrad is both possible and encouraged. Further younger members of management will be appointed to executive positions in due course, to continue the company's success during the forthcoming years. In this context, newly appointed managing directors Klaus Mittermayr and James Bell who will look after Conrad Holdings' global business operations with effect from May 1, 2015, both came up through the company ranks.
A Proven Strategy for Success: Tradition meets Innovation
"We believe that keeping a proper balance between innovation and our long-established company values is the key to our company's ongoing success in the future," says Werner Conrad. "Which, in this day and age, isn't always easy. At the moment, we need to prioritise new approaches, without losing touch with our roots and core values."
There's definitely new wind blowing through Conrad, and that not only in the boardroom: over the past 3 years, the company has invested a massive €100m in business development. This included expanding the B2B business, boost cross-border and global operations and extending the company's logistics and distribution facilities based in Wernberg-Koeblitz, Germany. Moreover, the product range increased to 600,000 products. This includes also the extension of the private lable assortment, such as VOLTCRAFT, TOOLCRAFT, C-Control, and renkforce.
In 2014, Conrad joined forces with young entrepreneurs, product developers and startups across the technology sector with regards to prototyping, material sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, in-store and online distribution as well as a wide range of services. Recent releases are the WunderBar Internet of Things Starter Kit, developed by a Berlin-based startup, and Patchblock Programmable Mini Synth Modules, with both products being distributed by Conrad. Further KIWI.KI key-less access system, partnering up with Hardware Accelerator, a communication platform for designers and inventers, and establishing HARDWARE.co electronics laboratories are three more examples of how Conrad is reframing its product development.
Conrad's Online Community platform was successfully launched in November last year, and will be continuously expanded during the forthcoming months. The company's customer-centric services, competent product advice and efficient multichannel retail operations have won Conrad multiple awards. "We are a globally trading family-owned business that supplies a huge range of products, and does not rely on external capital sourcing. Means, we feel adequately prepared for the challenges of the Digital Age," explains Werner Conrad, Chairman of the Administrative Board. "First and foremost, however, it's the dedication and commitment of our employees that really makes a difference."