Europe’s Fielmann Implements Co-CEO Structure to Set Course for Future

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HAMBURG, Germany—Gunther Fielmann and his son, Marc Fielmann, will jointly lead Fielmann AG (DB:FIE) in a co-CEO structure. Fielmann is Germany’s largest optical retailer and one of the largest European optician groups, with over 700 branches in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy and Lithuania. The company said the co-CEO decision “has been made unanimously by the supervisory board in its session on April 12 and is effective immediately.Gunther Fielmann, 78, retains the authority over strategic decisions, the expansion strategy, the collection development and the overarching responsibility. Marc Fielmann, 28, will be in charge of public relations, marketing and the executive leadership of Fielmann AG.

Prof. Dr. Mark Binz, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Fielmann Aktiengesellschaft, stated, “The adopted Co-CEO-structure is a forward-looking step for Fielmann. Gunther and Marc Fielmann are well aware of the requirements of different generations. They combine experience with innovation. The new governance structure enables Fielmann to utilize this competitive advantage. Together they will lead the company into a successful future.“

The new governance structure is a consistent step in Gunther Fielmann’s long-term succession plan, the announcement noted. Gunther Fielmann, CEO and majority shareholder of Fielmann Aktiengesellschaft, added, “As a family business, Fielmann thinks across generations. I am delighted that my son takes on more responsibility. Marc and I are strategically aligned around our customer-centric philosophy and we also share a very similar work ethic.”

Marc Fielmann said, “My father has removed the stigmatization associated with health insurance glasses and thus democratized eyewear fashion—this is his historical achievement. Together my father and I will ensure that Fielmann retains its strict customer focus. The international expansion and the digitization offer great opportunities for the future of our company. Fielmann is going to shape the optical industry in Europe for the benefit of the consumers without compromising quality.”

Fielmann reported consolidated sales of €1.34 billion in 2016 with preliminary 2017 consolidated sales to rise to €1.39 billion.