Zumtobel CEO Ulrich Schumacher bargains to resign

January 17, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Ulrich Schumacher, CEO of the Austrian lighting manufacturer Zumtobel AG, has offered his resignation to the company's Supervisory Board. The background is a power struggle between Schumacher and Supervisory Board Chairman Jörg Zumtobel.

Schumacher, who in earlier years headed the semiconductor manufacturer Infineon and took the company public after its spin-off from Siemens, had pursued a course of restructuring at the lighting manufacturer. Against the backdrop of sharply falling prices for LEDs, Schumacher wanted to make the company future-proof; among other things, he intended to reduce the number of jobs. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Jörg Zumtobel, whose family holds a about a third of the company's shares, apparently did not like this. According to media reports, two members of Zumtobel's Management Board recently resigned after Jörg Zumtobel gave an interview with Austrian TV broadcaster ORF; Zumtobel, on the other hand, appointed a fourth member of the Management Board in order to "relief Schumacher".

Back in 2004, Schumacher had also retired rather unexpectedly from its position at the helm of Infineon. At that time, the background to this decision was disputes within the three-member Executive Board. After leaving Infineon, Schumacher worked for a financial investor in Silicon Valley and then headed the Chinese semiconductor manufacturer Grace Semiconductor. The electrical engineer has been CEO of Zumtobel since 2013.

In a brief press release, Zumtobel confirmed the receipt of Schumacher's resignation request. The release does not contain any further information on Schumacher's employment. However, it points out that the Supervisory Board has only very recently rejected a similar resignation request from Schumacher's colleague, CFO Karin Sonnenmoser.

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