January 13, 2020

Executive in charge of Dematic unit leaves Kion Group

Parent company cites "differing views on corporate strategy" just 19 months after hiring Susanna Schneeberger for five-year term as chief digital officer.

By Ben Ames

German material handling giant Kion Group AG today said that it is parting ways with its chief digital officer (CDO), Susanna Schneeberger, the executive who is also responsible for its supply chain solutions segment, including the Dematic system integrator.

Just 19 months ago, Kion had appointed Schneeberger to its executive board for a five-year term, saying the move was meant to bolster its "Kion 2027" strategy of adapting to the industry trends of supply chain digitalization, automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT) through initiatives in digitalized customer solutions, robotics, and automation.

However, Schneeberger will now be leaving the company on March 31 "due to differing views on corporate strategy," Kion said. She will not be replaced by a single person, but rather her responsibilities be will shared by other members of the executive board, including her roles in supply chain solution and digital business transformation.

Asked for more detail on what had triggered the move, Kion said Schneeberger's departure was not related to a change in market conditions or to an evolution of its overall strategy. "Susanna Schneeberger has made great progress in the field of digitization and started important initiatives for the Kion Group," Kion spokesman Frank Grodzki said in an email. "The reason why she is leaving [is] different views on the digitalization strategy of the Group. Kion will continue to lead the digital transformation in its industry with a strong customer focus."

Kion's brands include the Dematic automated material handling unit it acquired in 2016, the Linde and Still brands of premium industrial trucks, the Baoli line of economy-segment industrial trucks, and two regional industrial truck brand companies; Fenwick in France and OM Voltas in India.

Editor's note: This story was revised on Jan. 14 to reflect Kion's statement that Schneeberger was not dismissed by the company, but rather that she left in "the best interest of both parties."

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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