Fujitsu’s ex CEO turns up at German computing company

Rolf Schwirz announced as Kontron’s new CEO as it moves further from hardware into service delivery

20 November 2012 by Penny Jones - DatacenterDynamics

Fujitsu’s ex CEO turns up at German computing company
Fujitsu's CEO Rolf Schwirz

Fujitsu Technology Services ex CEO – whose “surprise” resignation occurred just before the Fujitsu Forum in Europe, where he was based, early November – has taken on the role of CEO at Kontron AG, an embedded computing specialist listed on the German TecDAX stock exchange.

Rolf Schwirz, 53, will replace the company’s CEO and general manager Ulrich Gehrmann, who has led the company he has been with for 22 years for 12 of those, starting 1 January 2012.

Gehrmann will continue to work with the company on strategic projects and with Schwirz “to ensure a smooth transition”, the company said.

In recent years Kontron has worked to shift its focus from classic hardware supplies to becoming a service-oriented solution provider – similar to Fujitsu’s recent moves in the EMEA market.

Speaking with FOCUS at the Fujitsu Forum in November, Fujitsu Technology Solutions Executive Vice Chairman of the Board Satoru Hayashi said the company is currently working to broaden its branding in locations like Germany, where it has previously been associated with hardware sales.

Fujitsu entered the mainland Europe market through its partnership with Siemens branded as Fujitsu Siemens Computers GmBH.

It became known as Fujitsu Technology Services in 2009 following a takeover, and now wants to be known as more of a service-oriented company, with a focus on the Cloud.

Fujitsu is aiming to see 40% of its growth come from outside of Japan in coming years, Hayashi said.

“The biggest challenge we have outside of Japan is that we don’t have strong brand recognition yet,” Hayashi said.

“In Europe we started as a joint venture with Fujitsu Siemens computer, so the Fujitsu brand is very linked to hardware. Now we are trying to shift our business more for solutions,” Hayashi said.

Hayashi said Fujitsu did not anticipate the resignation of its man at the helm of its Technology Solutions division.

“Clearly this was a surprise that our CEO decided to leave,” Hayashi said.

Schwirz has more than 20 years of management experience in multinational technology companies. He joined Fujitsu in 2010 from SAP, where he was head of markets for EMEA.

Kontron Supervisory Board Chairman Helmut Krings said Schwirz will be tasked with taking the company forward through its next stage of development.

“Schwirz is bringing with him significant experience in the hardware and software business in Germany and internationally as well as strong customer relationships in both medium-sized and large companies,” Krings said.

Schwirz said he is joining the company at a time when the embedded computer market is one of the fastest growing tech markets and said “Kontron has a significant opportunity to build on its position as a key player in the market”.






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