ESLINGEN, Germany—Continental A.G. CEO Elmar Degenhart will remain at the helm for at least five more years now that the company's board of directors has approved a contract extension. The move not only represents the board's confidence in his leadership, it also "reflects the continuous profitable development of the company" under his guidance, according to Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle.
"Together with his executive board colleagues and senior executives, he has geared the organization and company culture toward sustainable and profitable growth in early preparation for the ongoing profound transformation of the automotive industry," Reitzler said in a statement. "The extension of his contract reflects the continuous profitable development of the company. For this, the board is demonstrating its full confidence in him."
Degenhart, whose current term ends Aug. 11, now will remain with Continental through August 2024.
Degenhart, 59, joined Continental in August 2009 as CEO to replace Karl-Thomas Neumann, who had resigned in the wake of waning confidence in his leadership of the company. Degenhart came to Conti from Schaeffler Group—Conti's largest single shareholder—where he had been chairman of Schaeffler's automotive unit.
As CEO, Degenhart is directly responsible for corporate communications, quality and environment, the global lean management program known as Continental Business System, and numerous central functions in the automotive group.
Under his leadership, the company has "achieved top performance industrywide," Reitzle said.
In his own statement, Degenhart noted that swift changes in technology have prompted rapid development of products throughout the automotive industry. By embracing digitalization, the industry has experienced "a profound transformation" in the push toward electric, automated and connected vehicles and products.
"We are right at the forefront of shaping this transformation," Degenhart said. "For over eight years now, we have been working on expanding our culture of networking and trust."
Continental also is undergoing big changes of its own. It's navigating a major reorganization, one that by 2020 will result in a holding company with three business sectors: Rubber, automotive and powertrain. This change, Degenhart said, "will help us to continue our rapid, profitable growth and to exploit new business potential."
At the same time board approved the contract extension for Degenhart, it terminated a position on the executive board held by Jose Avila. Instead, Avila will take on strategic advisory role for electrification technologies, remaining in that position through the end of 2019. He has been a board member since 2010, overseeing the firm's Powertrain Division.
Continental said in July that the Powertrain Division, which will oversee business development involving hybrid and electric drive systems and all current battery activities as well as combustion engine business, will be headed by Andreas Wolf.
He will step into his new role on Oct. 1.
"We are already working hard to improve our operations now and in the long term while preparing for potentially accessing capital markets," Wolf said in a statement. "We are confident that we will be able to expand upon our strong, global position substantially in the coming years."