Lindt & Sprüngli group CEO Dr Dieter Weisskopf set to step down later this year
Dr Dieter Weisskopf, CEO Lindt & Sprungli. Pic: Lindt
Swiss-headquartered confectionery business Lindt & Sprüngli has confirmed that its group CEO, Dr Dieter Weisskopf (pictured), is retiring at the end of this year, reports Neill Barston.
The business has named his successor as Dr. Adalbert Lechner, CEO of the German subsidiary and member of the Group Management.
He departs his post after the company recorded strong performance in 2021, with sales increasing 14% to CHF 4.59 billion in spite of pandemic challenges. Among key products that have driven its improved fortunes has been the development of its Excellence Cocoa Pure bar series, made from elements of cacao fruit, as well as expanding vegan and sugar-reduced chocolates.
Notably, this month in a separate statement, the company confirmed it had “re-evaluated our business activities” in relation to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and it has temporarily closed its stores in Russia and suspended deliveries to the country. The business stated its local employees continued to receive its support.
As for Lindt’s outgoing CEO, as part of the process, the board of directors are set to propose the election of Dr Weisskopf to its ranks, having spent 27 years within the group’s management.
Ernst Tanner, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, commented: “Dieter Weisskopf has contributed significantly to the success of our Group. Under his leadership, the company recorded a successful and sustainable performance. Over the past six years, he and the management team have positioned the Group very well for future global challenges, both strategically and organisationally, as well as in the important area of sustainability.
“The balance sheet and income statement have been further strengthened, and regions with faster growth have been expanded. All the prerequisites for a continuation of our success story have thus been met. I am extremely pleased that we can continue to count on Dieter Weisskopf’s support as a member of the Board of Directors.”
“Lindt & Sprüngli is in very good shape, so this is an ideal time to hand over the leadership to new hands,” says Dieter Weisskopf. “I look back with pride and much pleasure on my many years of service to the Group and look forward to leading the company until towards the end of the year, continuing to accompany Lindt & Sprüngli as a member of the Board of Directors and devoting myself to new entrepreneurial activities.”
The Group’s new CEO will be the long-time CEO of the German subsidiary as well as Group Management member Adalbert Lechner. He joined the Lindt & Sprüngli Group in 1993. First as CEO of the Austrian subsidiary, then in 1997 he was appointed CEO of the German subsidiary.
As the company noted, under his leadership, the German subsidiary has developed into the largest company of the Group with extremely successful track record.
He was a member of the Extended Group Management from 2011 until 2016. As of January 1, 2017 Adalbert Lechner is member of the Group Management and responsible, in addition to managing Lindt Germany, for the development of our northern and eastern Europe markets as well as the Global Retail/On-Line division.
With this forward-looking succession planning at the top management of the Group, Lindt & Sprüngli is consistently continuing the long-term orientation of the company. Based on the long-standing and successful cooperation between Ernst Tanner and Adalbert Lechner, continuity, which plays an important role in the Lindt & Sprüngli Group, will be ensured and the course towards a prosperous future will be continued.
“I am very much looking forward to my new role as CEO of the Group and would like to thank the Board of Directors for their trust,” says Adalbert Lechner. “Dieter Weisskopf hands over the company to me in excellent shape and expectations for the future development are high. I am happy to accept this challenge, as I can rely on an outstanding Management Team.”
Ernst Tanner said: “I am proud of what the Management Team together with over 14,000 passionate and dedicated employees has achieved over the past decades and I am looking forward to a successful future. Thanks to our strong culture we have built a solid foundation to further strengthen our position as the world’s leading premium chocolate company. I am very pleased that our company can hand over the CEO responsibilities to Adalbert Lechner, who will together with the Group Management and my support continue our success story.”