Zumtobel chief quits in boardroom row

Zumtobel chief executive Harald Sommerer and chief finance officer Mathias Dähn have quit in a row over strategy.

The resignations follow months of intensive discussions in the Zumtobel boardroom over the future strategic direction of the group and its companies, architectural fixture manufacturer Zumtobel, commercial and amenity luminaire maker Thorn and driver and control gear specialist Tridonic.

It’s believed the two board members clashed with the supervisory board over strategy, including the autonomy of Thorn.

Sommerer, pictured, was appointed CEO in March 2010 to steer the group through the difficult transition from traditional technologies to LED, but like all European manufacturers, the company has been buffeted by market instability and on-going recession in the region.

The Zumtobel Group has now appointed a replacement for Sommerer, Dr Ulrich Schumacher, who had a long career at Siemens, including the post of chief executive of the semiconductor group. A replacement for Dahn is currently being sought.

In the months of May, June and July this year the group saw sales fall by 4.4 per cent to US$417(€309) million but profits increased by 41 per cent to US$24 (€18) million as cost-cutting measures bore fruit. LED products now account for 29 per cent of all sales at the group, but only 15 per cent at Tridonic.