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Co-heiress Verena Bahlsen leaves biscuit manufacturer

The biscuit manufacturer Bahlsen gets a new boss in January.

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Co-heiress Verena Bahlsen leaves biscuit manufacturer

The biscuit manufacturer Bahlsen gets a new boss in January. Alexander Kuehnen, currently CEO of Carl Kuehne KG in Hamburg, is to become the managing director of the Hanover-based company from January 1, Bahlsen announced on Thursday.

Since January 2022, a four-person management team had run the company following Phil Rumbol's split. Verena Bahlsen was there and, according to the announcement, will now “end her active role as Chief Mission Officer” at the end of the year. In the future, the co-heiress and daughter of Werner M. Bahlsen wants to devote herself to new projects outside of Bahlsen.

In the family business, which is particularly well-known for its Leibniz biscuits, there have been several changes in the executive floor in recent years. One of the goals was a stronger focus on topics such as sustainability and digitization. Werner M. Bahlsen had already retired as CEO in 2018. There were also several violent differences of opinion in the family about the orientation.

Among other things, the 51-year-old Kühnen worked for Unilever for many years in Germany and abroad, where he was responsible for management roles in sales and marketing, among other things. Werner M. Bahlsen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said that with Kühnen, "the realignment of the company in a challenging environment" should be shaped.

Verena Bahlsen has been an active partner in the company since 2018. As a shareholder, she will continue to closely accompany Bahlsen's path, explained the 29-year-old. Her father Werner M. Bahlsen stated: "We as a family and the Board of Directors would like to thank Verena for her deep understanding of the changes in global markets and her empathy for the brands, which helped to bring our key assets to new splendor".

A few years ago, Verena Bahlsen was said to have ambitions for the top post. She had drawn massive criticism in 2019 with controversial statements about the role of the company during the Nazi era ("We paid the forced laborers just like the Germans and treated them well"), for which she later apologized.

According to the pastry manufacturer, which is one of the leading manufacturers in Europe, it has around 2,600 employees in more than 80 countries. The main location has been Hanover since 1889. The British manager Rumbol was the first company boss who did not belong to the entrepreneurial family.

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