The Stihl AG supervisory board appointed Dr. Peter Pretzsch the new executive board member responsible for research and development, effective July 1, 2018. Pretzsch succeeds Wolfgang Zahn, the former Stihl development chief, who has occupied the position since July 1999.
Under the leadership of Zahn, several billion euros were invested in the development of Stihl products. For example, a new engineering center was built in 2004 and a competence center for environmentally friendly electric and cordless battery products was set up at the founding company in Waiblingen in 2016. During his term of office, not only the Stihl battery technology was developed, but world firsts and many technical innovations were also launched on the market. This made Stihl products both more powerful and convenient to use, but also improved their ergonomics and reduced their emissions. This includes, for instance, the Stihl TS 500i Stihl Cutquik, the world’s first cut-off machine with electronically controlled fuel injection, and product features like the Ergostart, Stihl 4Mix engine and Stihl M-Troni engine management. Since 1999, the turnover of the Stihl Group has tripled from 1.14 billion euros to 3.46 billion euros (fiscal year 2016).
Pretzsch has been general manager of Viking, the Austrian garden equipment manufacturer, since 2011. Under his leadership, the Stihl subsidiary was substantially extended and experienced considerable growth. Previously, he worked for more than 20 years in executive positions at the Stihl founding company in Waiblingen. Among other positions, he was head of “Research and Development Services” for two years and then head of the “Group Technology and Buildings” department for more than five years. Prior to that he spent time in several positions in product development, e.g. in engine development and pre-development. In addition, Pretzsch was a member of the Stihl AG supervisory board from 2003 to 2011.
Dr. Clemens Schaller takes over as Viking general manager
When Dr. Pretzsch joins the Stihl executive board, Dr. Clemens Schaller will take over as General Manager of Viking on June 1, 2018. Schaller is currently at Stihl and responsible for coordination with Globe Tools, a Chinese manufacturer of corded and cordless electric power tools. The Stihl Group acquired a 35-percent stake in Globe Tools in May 2016. Dr. Schaller studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen and received his Ph.D. at Dortmund University. Schaller is an experienced leader with an international background. Since 1988 he was in responsible positions in production at a number of Robert Bosch GmbH and BSH Hausgeräte GmbH plants at home and abroad. In his most recent function Dr. Schaller was responsible for worldwide production of BSH dishwashers.