German chemical and consumer goods company Henkel has announced its new CEO. The current CEO, Hans Van Bylen, will not be able to work an additional term after 35 years with the company due to personal reasons.
Van Bylen will hand over the role to his successor, Carsten Knobel, effective 1 January 2020. Knobel joined Henkel in 1995 and has been on the Management Board since 2012, responsible for finance, purchasing and integrated business solutions.
“After about 35 years with Henkel, I have decided that with the expiration of my contract next year, it is now the right time to make an orderly change at the top of the company,” said Van Bylen. “For personal reasons, I will not seek a further term as chairman of the management board.
“I would like to thank all my employees and my colleagues in the management board for their dedication and commitment over the past years, as well as all members of our supervisory committees for their support and advice.
“I am also glad that we were able to appoint Carsten Knobel from within our management board as successor and CEO. I am convinced that Henkel will continue to develop successfully under his leadership.”
Hans Van Bylen started his career at Henkel in 1984. He has been a member of the company’s Management Board since 2005 and was initially responsible for the beauty care business unit before being appointed chairman of the Management Board at the start of 2016. Since September 2018, Van Bylen has also been president of the Germany Chemical Industry Association and vice-president of the Federation of German Industries. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).
Carsten Knobel has spent many years at Henkel, gaining extensive experience in international management and leadership. “We are convinced that, together with the entire management board, he will continue to drive vigorously the development of our company,” said Dr Simone Bagel-Trah, chairwoman of the Supervisory Board and Shareholders’ Committee.
Knobel studied business administration and technical chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin and started his career at Henkel in 1995 as assistant to the Management Board member responsible for research and development. He then moved to the beauty care business unit. Following his roles as head of corporate strategy and controlling and financial director of the beauty care division, he was appointed chief financial officer at Henkel in 2012. Knobel is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Lufthansa.
“I am grateful for the trust which is expressed through this appointment,” said Carsten Knobel. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Management Board and our global team to shape the future of Henkel.”