Thyssenkrupp Said to Mull Leadership Changes at Industrial Unit

(Bloomberg) -- Thyssenkrupp AG has discussed changing the leadership of its industrial services division in an effort to turn around the unprofitable business at the heart of the this year’s crisis, according to people familiar with the matter.

No decision has been made and it’s possible that Thyssenkrupp’s executives will opt to not make any changes, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel matters.

The talks show that Thyssenkrupp is wrestling with how to change direction at industrial services, which builds a wide range of products from submarines to cement factories and car assembly lines. Last month, interim Chief Executive Officer Guido Kerkhoff said the division is “our problem child and it is clearly a turnaround case with lots of homework to come.”

Any leadership changes at industrial services could come at a time when Thyssenkrupp lacks a permanent chairman and CEO. Several candidates contacted for the top roles have turned them down, according to people familiar with the matter.

The management of industrial solutions include Peter Feldhaus, the division CEO, and Stefan Gesing, the chief financial officer of the unit. A spokeswoman for Thyssenkrupp declined to comment.

The unit reported a 216 million-euro loss ($250 million) in the three months ended June. Recent headaches include a delayed delivery of six submarines to Turkey and delays in building a Saudi Arabia cement plans.

The losses at the division were disclosed shortly after the resignation of Thyssenkrupp’s chairman and CEO. The company has been under pressure for months by activist investors including Cevian Capital and Elliott Management Corp. for slow progress in streamlining the steel-to-submarine conglomerate.

Thyssenkrupp shares have plunged 21 percent this year, compared with a 7.5 percent drop in Germany’s bluechip DAX index.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.