The technology company ZF has started the year with a newly formed Board of Management team. Dr. Holger Klein has been Chief Executive Officer of the company starting January 1. Michael Frick, Chief Financial Officer, and Dr. Peter Laier, in charge of Commercial Vehicle and Industrial Technology, are new members of the Board, which has been reduced from seven to six members. At its first major appearance of the year, ZF presented its products for the software-defined vehicle and the next generation of autonomous transport systems at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) tech event in Las Vegas.
“Together with the Board of Management team and our employees worldwide, I am really looking forward to realizing our concept of sustainable, safe and affordable mobility for everyone,” says CEO Dr. Holger Klein. “At the same time, climate protection and digitalization, transforming markets, and the increasingly unstable economic environment require anticipation and speedy reactions. We feel confident – after all, for the last 108 years, ZF has proven that we know how to transform!”
Dr. Klein joined ZF Friedrichshafen AG in 2014 and was appointed to the Board of Management in 2018. The new Chief Executive Officer is responsible for Corporate Sales, Research and Development, the System House of Autonomous Mobility Systems, and the Aftermarket division. Michael Frick and Dr. Peter Laier assumed their Board of Management functions at the same time as Dr. Klein. Dr. Laier is responsible for Commercial Vehicle and Industrial Technology, the Corporate Production department and the region of India. Mr. Frick, who joined ZF in December 2022, has been Chief Financial Officer since January 1 and is also Head of M&A, IT and Digitalization.
As a member of the Board of Management, Dr. Martin Fischer now also heads the Car Chassis Technology Division in addition to his previous responsibilities (Active Safety Systems, Passive Safety Systems, Electronics and ADAS divisions, North and South America regions, Corporate Quality) at his office in the U.S. Asia-Pacific region and the Materials Management department will – in addition to the Electrified Powertrain Technologies division – be managed by Stephan von Schuckmann from Asia. The responsibilities of Sabine Jaskula, Chief Human Resources Officer in charge of Human Resources, Sustainability, Legal and Compliance, remain unchanged.
“With the new allocation of responsibilities, we bundle our tasks, increase efficiency and focus on customer proximity in North America and Asia,” says CEO Klein. “The intensive cooperation and deep trust in the performance of our teams in the divisions, business units and regions made this decision possible.”
At the first global executive management meeting of the new year in Friedrichshafen, Dr. Klein emphasized that ZF has achieved a lot even in difficult times and the company has further developed strategically: “We can trust in our capabilities that have helped us deal with the transformation and overcome crises. After all, the war in Ukraine with its wide-ranging consequences, the transition in mobility, weak sales figures, supply chain issues and the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to present us with major tasks that require focus and flexibility.” Against this backdrop, ZF will examine even more closely which technologies are proving particularly promising and how these can be further strengthened. At the same time, the company wants to reduce complexity in all areas – to be able to act faster and make better use of opportunities.
ZF kicked off 2023 with its appearance at the CES tech event in Las Vegas. Here, the focus was placed on products for software-defined vehicles, autonomous mobility systems and electric mobility. For the first time, ZF presented the new generation of its multi-domain ZF ProAI high-performance computer with another step-change in increased computing power. Customers have already ordered approximately 14 million units of ZF ProAI; further growth is expected. With ZF ProAI, ZF can supply an important component for future vehicle concepts with central control units, such as autonomous shuttles.
ZF also presented their next generation autonomous transport shuttle at CES. It can drive fully automatically (Level 4), which means it can maneuver in mixed traffic without a safety driver if this is allowed by local legal provisions. ZF has agreed a partnership with the U.S. mobility service provider Beep to use these new shuttles. A planning volume of several thousand Level-4 shuttle vehicles for use in the U.S. is envisaged.
With the Heat Belt, an innovative heatable seat belt, ZF shows how to increase the range of electric vehicles by up to 15 percent in cold weather conditions. When combined with heated seats and, for example, a heatable steering wheel, the energy consumption of an electric car is considerably reduced at low temperatures because it is no longer necessary to heat up the entire interior for the occupants to feel comfortable. The heatable seat belt ensures a constant feeling of heat close to the body.
At the annual press conference in Friedrichshafen, scheduled for Thursday, March 16, CEO Klein and CFO Frick will review fiscal year 2022 and give an outlook on the current year and ZF’s strategic course.