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Henkel Selects New Chief Executive Officer

November 7, 2019
Carsten Knobel, pictured here, will become CEO of Henkel in January. Image courtesy of Henkel
Carsten Knobel, pictured here, will become CEO of Henkel in January. Image courtesy of Henkel

A new chief executive officer will begin leading German adhesives and chemicals manufacturer Henkel on January 1 as the firm’s current CEO Hans Van Bylen steps down from the company after 35 years of service with the company. 

Van Bylen is leaving the company for “personal reasons” and will be replaced by Henkel Chief Financial Officer Carsten Knobel, a member of Henkel’s Management Board since 2012, the firm announced in an October 24 release. 

“After about 35 years with Henkel, I have decided that with the expiration of my contract next year it is now the right time to make an orderly change at the top of the company. For personal reasons, I will not seek a further term as Chairman of the Management Board,” Van Bylen said in a statement, adding, “I am also glad that we were able to appoint Carsten Knobel from within our Management Board as successor and CEO. I am convinced Henkel will continue to develop successfully under his leadership.”

Van Bylen, 58, joined Henkel in 1984 and became a member of its Management Board in 2005. He has been the president of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) since September 2018 and also serves as vice president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). 

“Under the leadership of Hans Van Bylen, all business units were further strengthened through acquisitions and partnerships. The acquisition of Sun Products significantly expanded the market position of our Laundry & Home Care business in the USA, our largest market worldwide,” said Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah, the chairwoman of the Supervisory Board and Shareholders’ Committee, in the release. “Acquisitions were also made in Adhesive Technologies and Beauty Care. He put particular emphasis on the digitization of the company in all areas, which he drove forward with great determination.”

Born in 1969 in Marburg, Germany, Knobel started his tenure at Henkel in 1995 as an assistant to a Management Board member that lead research and development. He moved to the firm’s Beauty Care business and occupied a variety of positions in controlling, M&A, and the operating businesses. Knobel was appointed chief financial officer in 2012. 

“[Knobel] knows Henkel very well and has many years of international management and leadership experience. He is highly regarded by his colleagues on the Management Board as well as by our employees and has also an excellent reputation in the capital markets,” Dr. Bagel-Trah said. “We are convinced that, together with the entire Management Board, he will continue to vigorously drive the development of our company.”

In his role on the Management Board, Knobel oversees Finance, Purchasing, and Integrated Business Solutions. The company said it is in the process of finding a successor for the CFO position.

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