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Heidelberg organizes top management for digital future


As it pursues its digital transformation, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is also making organizational changes. As of October this year, three key management positions will be filled by individuals with international experience from various industries. One of these new arrivals is Sonja Mechling, who is joining the company from Robert Bosch Smart Home GmbH and is taking over as Chief Marketing Officer at Heidelberg. She is also set to become Managing Director of the Heidelberg Digital Unit. Mechling is an acknowledged expert in e-commerce and in building up new business units and has many years of experience in Asia and around Europe.

As Chief Information Officer (CIO), Dr. Stefan Heizmann (38) will be the company’s new head of IT. Heizmann is currently in charge of IT for the Gühring Group and in 2017 won the Industrial Internet Award for digital innovation presented by trade magazine CIO for his work in this role. As part of the Heidelberg team, he will use his experience in corporate IT, creating digital platforms, and developing new business models to implement the company’s digital transformation in the field of IT.

Robert Franz (46) is a sales manager from Rittal with international experience, who will oversee global sales at Heidelberg in the Sales Operations unit. Franz has extensive experience in sales excellence and will be responsible for global Sales Operations and by extension for refocusing the organization at Heidelberg on digital omnichannel sales.

Heidelberg organizes top management for digital future

“We are delighted to have three highly qualified managers joining Heidelberg at this exciting time,” said Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of Heidelberg. “All three are going to be a driving force behind the company’s transformation. With their international experience in management positions, they’re going to make a major contribution to this period of expansion and growth.”

Mechling’s most recent position was as a member of the Management Executive Board at Robert Bosch Smart Home GmbH, where she was in charge of marketing, sales, and the Business Operations unit. Working in Asia and Europe, she has gained more than 20 years of experience in management positions in e-commerce, marketing and sales, and in setting up start-up companies. It will be her job at Heidelberg to hit the ambitious growth targets based on e-commerce platforms, to continue developing a digital customer approach, and thus to provide extensive support for the new data-based business models.

Having previously held several management positions, Dr. Heizmann was appointed CIO and CDO of the Gühring Group and put in charge of IT operations in 2012. As part of the company’s digital transformation, IT played a crucial role in reducing throughput times in production, tapping into new customer groups, and establishing indirect sales. Heizmann also developed an agile IT organization based on cutting-edge technology that focused first and foremost on new business models for the digital world.

“With Sonja Mechling as CMO and Dr. Stefan Heizmann as CIO, we’ve added two experienced digitization experts to the team,” says Prof. Ulrich Hermann, Member of the Management Board and Chief Digital Officer at Heidelberg. Both will be reporting directly to Hermann as senior figures in units that are important to the digital transformation. “Sonja Mechling will make a major contribution, helping rapidly drive forward our plans to establish our digital sales channels and digitize our customer journey. Dr. Heizmann will put Heidelberg IT systems on course to become a digital business platform. This will allow us in the future to provide an end-to-end digital context for our customers, partners, employees, and equipment.”

As Head of Sales Operations, Franz will be responsible for the worldwide sales organization of Heidelberg. Having previously held several management positions at Honeywell and Rittal GmbH & Co.KG, the qualified lawyer was, until recently, President USA and Executive Vice President for the region of North and South America at the enclosure systems provider. His experience in sales will help propel the transformation of Heidelberg by introducing new, cutting-edge sales processes.

“Robert Franz will help us deliver the global turnaround of Heidelberg and continue pursuing the digitization of sales processes,” explains Hundsdörfer. “As a result of our customer segmentation, a whole new role is being added to sales,” explains Prof. Hermann. “In the future, the operational focus in sales will be on identifying the potential for generating added value with customers and realizing this potential in solutions. Under Mr. Franz, particular attention will be focused on reorganizing sales for offerings that are geared toward customer segments and new business models, integrating digital sales channels, and pursuing sales excellence and data analytics.”

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