At its meeting yesterday, the Supervisory Board of STIHL AG appointed Anke Kleinschmit as the new Executive Board Member for Development. Anke Kleinschmit will join STIHL AG as a board member on May 1, 2019 and, on July 1, 2019, will take over from Wolfgang Zahn, the incumbent STIHL board member responsible for product development, who has held the post since July 1999 and will be retiring from the company at the end of June.
Under Wolfgang Zahn's leadership the company invested several billion euros in research and the development of STIHL products. For example, a new engineering center was built in 2004 and a center of excellence for environment-friendly corded and cordless electric products set up at the founding company in Waiblingen. During his term of office not only the STIHL cordless technology was developed, but a number of world firsts and many technical innovations were also launched on the market. STIHL products thus became more powerful and easier to use, but were also improved ergonomically and had lower emissions. Typical examples are the STIHL TS 500i and the MS 500i, the world's first cut-off machine and the world's first chainsaw with electronically controlled fuel injection, and product features such as Ergostart, the STIHL 4-Mix engine and STIHL M-Tronic engine management. Since 1999, the turnover of the STIHL Group has more than trebled from EUR 1.14 billion to EUR 3.8 billion (fiscal year 2017).
Anke Kleinschmit was previously the head of the TecFactory Powertrain at Daimler AG where, among other things, she pushed ahead with digitalization in production. She joined Daimler-Benz as a computational engineer immediately after obtaining her degree in mechatronic engineering in 1992. Following periods as development engineer in Design and as head of the Powertrain Electronics Center, she became head of the Center of Excellence Transmissions in 2013. In 2015 she took the helm of Corporate Research and subsequently assumed responsibility for the TecFactory Powertrain.