Executive changes and continuing deficit at StreetScooter
StreetScooter has hired former managers from Tesla and Ford to join the executive team of the German electric delivery van manufacturer with immediate effect. German postal services Deutsche Post, however, is again expecting significant losses from its subsidiary this year.
StreetScooter has brought new managers Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen and Ulrich Stuhec on board. Bardenfleth-Hansen was part of the first European Tesla team and as the new Chief Growth Officer will now be responsible for the further growth and development of the international sales organisation of StreetScooter as well as energy and logistics services. Former Ford manager Stuhec will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and will drive product development and new platform and technology development, including autonomous driving. He will also be responsible for StreetScooter’s China expansion. Ulrich Stuhec replaces the former CTO Fabian Schmitt.
Markus Doerr recently took up the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at StreetScooter. As a new member of the management board, he is responsible for production, purchasing and quality. All in all, there is much movement on the StreetScooter executive floor. Jörg Sommer took over the CEO position in April this year, when Achim Kampker, longstanding managing director and face of the electric van manufacturer, returned to concentrating on his professorship at RWTH Aachen University.
Financially, something at the rapidly-growing electric van manufacturer needs to change: This year StreetScooter will again make a loss. “It will be a significant double-digit million amount again this year”, said Deutsche Post CEO Frank Appel to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. The Group is talking to potential partners and potential buyers.
It is no secret that Deutsche Post is not comfortable with its expensive subsidiary. In June last year, Head of the board, Frank Appel said that DP/DHL would consider selling the electric van business. Appel told German newspaper FAZ that the SteetScooter was a “very good story,” and although Deutsche Post does not want to continue StreetScooter production forever, it would do so for “next two years at least”. The end of those two years will be coming up soon. For the German national postal service, vehicle production is an enormous subsidy business. According to an earlier report by German business publication Manager Magazin, an estimated loss of 70 million euros was incurred in 2018. In May it became clear that the spiritual father of the project, the Aachen eMobility pioneer Prof. Günther Schuh, had ambitions to take over the Post subsidiary for 300 million Euros. However, neither Schuh nor the Post confirmed the purchase offer.
At the beginning of the year, it became clear that Volkswagen had wanted to take over the Post subsidiary StreetScooter. Discussions are said to have taken place at the beginning of 2017, but ultimately failed due to different price expectations. Volkswagen offered 300 to 400 million euros for half of the shares, which was politely turned down.
While there is still uncertainty on the corporate strategy, the further international development of the business is progressing at a phenomenal rate: a month ago, StreetScooter and the Chinese car manufacturer Chery formulated their intention to set up a joint venture to produce the Post subsidiary’s electric delivery vans in China. The two companies signed a declaration to this effect during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trip to China. StreetScooter says that the company will continue to focus its management on growth and internationalisation.