Waiblingen, 12/15/2017 | Company press release
The STIHL AG Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Peter Pretzsch the new Executive Board Member for Development effective July 1, 2018. Dr. Pretzsch therefore succeeds Wolfgang Zahn, the former STIHL Executive Board Member for Development, who has occupied the position since July 1999 and is now leaving for age-related reasons.
Under the leadership of Wolfgang Zahn, several billion euros were invested in the research and development of STIHL products. For example, a new development center was built in 2004, and a center of excellence for environmentally friendly electric and cordless products was set up at the parent company in Waiblingen in 2016. Not only was STIHL cordless technology developed during his term in office, but a number of world firsts and many technical innovations were also launched to market. These made STIHL products both more powerful and more convenient to use, but also improved their ergonomics and reduced their emissions. The innovations include, for instance, the STIHL TS 500i, the world’s first cut-off machine with electronically controlled injection, and product features like the ErgoStart, STIHL 4-MIX engine and STIHL M-Tronic engine management. Since 1999 the STIHL Group’s revenue has tripled from 1.14 billion euros to 3.46 billion euros (fiscal year 2016).
Dr. Peter Pretzsch has been Managing Director of VIKING, the Austrian garden power tool manufacturer, since 2011. Under his leadership the site has been substantially extended and the STIHL subsidiary has experienced considerable growth. Dr. Pretzsch, who has a doctorate in engineering, previously spent more than 20 years working in executive positions at the STIHL parent company in Waiblingen. Among other roles he was head of Research and Development Services for two years and then head of the Group Technology and Buildings department for more than five years. Prior to that he spent time in a number of development-specific roles, such as engine development and pre-development. In addition, Dr. Pretzsch was a member of the STIHL AG Supervisory Board from 2003 to 2011.
When Dr. Pretzsch joins the STIHL Executive Board, Dr. Clemens Schaller will take over as Managing Director of VIKING on June 1, 2018. Dr. Schaller is currently at STIHL and responsible for coordination with Globe Tools, a Chinese manufacturer of corded and cordless products. The STIHL Group acquired a 35% stake in Globe Tools in May 2016. Dr. Schaller studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen and received his PhD at Dortmund University. Dr. Schaller is an experienced leader with an international background. From 1988 he was in responsible positions in production at a number of Robert Bosch GmbH and BSH Hausgeräte GmbH locations within and outside Germany. In his most recent function, Dr. Schaller was responsible for worldwide BSH dishwasher production.