Germany's top consultant for purchasing in companies plans his succession

Frank Wiethoff will become Chairman of the Kerkhoff Group Management Board alongside Gerd Kerkhoff as of August. The founder values the manager's down-to-earth approach.

Munich. His nickname is obligatory: “Captain Kerk”. Just like the commander from the "Starship Enterprise" TV series, Gerd Kerkhoff, 61, wants to navigate the course, and now, as the owner of a management consultancy in Düsseldorf, he is also navigating into the future with a new succession solution.

Along with the founder, Frank Wiethoff, 50, will become Chairman of the Kerkhoff Group Management Board (turnover: almost EUR 30 million), which specialises in purchasing issues, as of August. The division of labour in the dual leadership will be as follows: Kerkhoff will look after the network and strategic partnerships, while the new leader will take care of the operative management. The strategy of the future is a matter for both parties.

The deeper truth of the operation is that Wiethoff will take over a two-digit share from the start. If he makes an impact on the 110 employees, he is set to be the future sole CEO and major shareholder. Kerkhoff, who lives at Tegernsee with his wife and business partner Stefanie, intends to occupy the driving seat for just two years. The business graduate sees himself as a "Mr. Medium" for mid-tier companies; his clientèle includes Krone, Warsteiner and Voith.

Wiethoff, changing professions, has been in a similar role recently, since 2013: head of East Germany for KPMG's consultants and auditors. In Berlin and throughout Germany as a whole, he looked after new mid-tier and start-up companies. In his 24 years with KPMG, the business economist from the Rhineland was also active in Cologne, New York and Düsseldorf.

He is now returning in order to push Kerkhoff business software. According to the CEO, digitisation is the top topic in purchasing. Kerkhoff, in turn, praises Wiethoff for his "down-to-earth nature", breathing fresh life into the company. Now all “Captain Kerk” has to do is make a safe landing.

Author: Hans-Jürgen Jakobs
Handelsblatt GmbH
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