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Kuka CEO Till Reuter leaves role after 10 years

Dr Till Reuter has ended his time as the CEO of Kuka after a decade at one of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers.

Kuka is a German industrial automation company which was established 120 years ago and last year generated revenue of almost $4 billion.

In 2016, Chinese home appliances manufacturing giant Midea increased its stake in the company and completed its takeover in 2017.

Reuter’s decision to leave the company in December is said to be in agreement with the supervisory board. Peter Mohnen is appointed to take over and the company says this ensures continuity. 

In a statement, the Kuka Supervisory Board and Reuter say they agreed to “terminate Reuter’s office as CEO prematurely in December”.

And while Mohnen takes over as interim CEO, Andreas Pabst is appointed interim CFO.

Dr Reuter has been Kuka CEO for almost 10 years. He joined the company in 2009 and led the company out of the economic crisis.

Under his leadership, the company says it kept its “number one position in automotive and further diversified into new markets”.

Together with the Kuka team, Reuter shaped the strategy towards Industrie 4.0, collaborative robots, as well as growth in China.

Dr Reuter says: “I am proud to have been part of Kuka for the last 10 years and pushed robotics forward together with the team. Robotics and automation are the key topics of the future. I wish you all the best for the future. You always have my support.”

Mohnen says: “We want to continue to be a reliable partner for our customers, based on the know-how of our employees.”

Dr Andy Gu, chairman of the supervisory board, says: “On behalf of the supervisory board and the entire company, I would like to thank Dr Reuter for his tremendous efforts in successfully managing Kuka’s turnaround since he took the helm in 2009.

“Kuka is now well-positioned to re-enter a path of sustainable growth, benefiting from the increasing demand in intelligent robotics and by strengthening the position in the Chinese market.”

All existing investor agreements that Kuka has signed with Midea as controlling shareholder including the ring-fencing-agreement protecting Kuka’s intellectual property will stay in place unchanged.

Midea says it will continue its support for Kuka’s growth strategy, including the development of the Chinese market, focus on research and development, investment in digitization and Industrie 4.0, as well as “a strong commitment” to Kuka’s presence in Germany.