William Demant Holding A/S (WDH) has promoted Søren Nielsen to chief operating officer (COO) and hired René Schneider to fill a newly created position as chief financial officer (CFO). Both Nielsen and Schneider will become members of the Executive Board of WDH, headed by President & CEO Niels Jacobsen. WDH is the parent group of Oticon, Bernafon, Sonic, Interacoustics, Maico, GSI, MedRx, and several other companies in hearing healthcare.
René Schneider has been the CFO since 2013 of Auriga Industries, a holding company that recently sold its largest asset, Danish chemical-maker Cheminova. He has formerly also been employed with NNIT, Novo Nordisk, and NeuroSearch.
Søren Nielsen has been employed with William Demant since 1995. For the past 2 decades, he has held different positions with the Group, and since 2008, he has been President of Oticon A/S.
“William Demant has seen impressive growth for more than 20 years and is today one of the biggest players in its industry on a global scale,” said Lars Nørby Johansen, Chairman of the Board, in a press statement. “From previously mainly being known for developing and manufacturing hearing instruments, we are today active within several other important areas, the purpose of which is to treat and alleviate hearing loss. In a changing market, with growing investments and increasing complexity, we are now extending the Executive Board with a view to supporting our ambition of becoming a global market leader in hearing healthcare. Implants and bone-anchored hearing systems are both areas that hold considerable potential. At the same time, our existing hearing instrument and diagnostics businesses are growing in a market with increasing competition.”
With the acquisition of Audika, the Group reports that, at the end of the year, reach annual revenue of about DKK 11 billion (US$1.68 billion) and employ more than 11,000 people. The company also expects continued significant investment in Oticon Medical, resulting in expansion of its business in the future.
“René Schneider will become overall responsible for implementing the Group’s already initiated change and efficiency improvement projects in Shared Services— IT, Finance, and Administration as well as Operations and Supply Chain,” says Jacobsen. “Søren Nielsen will continue to be responsible for our entire wholesale hearing instrument business. In addition, one of his main tasks will be to ensure that we realize synergies across all our business activities.”
Going forward, the Management group of William Demant will consist of 6 people. Apart from the Executive Board, the Management group will consist of Arne Boye Nielsen (Diagnostics), Niels Wagner (Retail), and Svend Thomsen (Finance).
Stefan Ingildsen, senior VP Finance, will continue in his present position as responsible for Finance and Investor Relations until 1 September 2015 when René Schneider will take up his position as CFO.
“Stefan Ingildsen has worked closely with me for the past 10 years and has during that time made a tremendous effort in Finance and Investor Relations,” says Jacobsen. “He will leave the Group at his own request.”