We welcome Tillmann Olsen, the Group’s new Deputy Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 August 2017. His current position will be short-lived however, as Tillmann is Chief Executive Officer designate, taking over the reins from retiring John Wingrove at the end of this year, who has been at the helm of the Hytec Group for 16 years.
Liaising closely with John Wingrove over the preceding 18 months, and having international experience at Bosch Rexroth in China and France in various senior positions, Tillmann was more than prepared for the task at hand on his arrival in South Africa. His top two priorities he lists as spending as much time as possible with John to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, decision-making processes and strategies – and “to get to know as many employees as possible in person.” He has managed to achieve this to-date, having accompanied John on countrywide and southern African branch visits, something that will continue to the end of 2017. “I would like to see the way we work to satisfy our customers’ requirements first-hand,” Tillmann explains.
On the question of career highlights, Tillmann says his career has been marked by situations that were out of the ordinary, but extremely positive. “I like challenging situations,” he says, “be it negotiations borne from my purchasing background; special situations that arise when purchasing companies; as well as integration processes. My career highlights are all connected to mastering difficult situations aligned to our company’s targets and understanding the way they are to be achieved.”
Testament to this is his career history, which comprises 18 years with the Bosch Group, 16 of them with Bosch Rexroth. The first 2 years were with Bosch’s Diesel Systems Division before joining Rexroth in 2001, which was the beginning of that specific post-merger integration (PMI). It was here that Tillmann’s career trajectory began. He was responsible for integrating Mannesmann Rexroth and Bosch into the new Bosch Rexroth organisation and, having done so successfully, was deployed to China for 3 years to establish the Rexroth purchasing organisation.
He was then recalled to Bosch Rexroth to focus on mergers & acquisitions and PMI, where he oversaw the purchase of Swedish company Hägglunds. Having served in this capacity for four years, Tillmann was then tasked in 2011 with a France-based factory integration, before being appointed Chief Financial Officer to Bosch Rexroth France. Later, the position of CFO of the Venissieux manufacturing plant was added to his portfolio.
In addition to the countries previously mentioned, Tillmann also spent six months in Brazil while working for the Group, which was preceded with stints in New Zealand, Spain and Columbia when a student. “Having been exposed to a number of countries, I have come to value the different approaches to the way things are done in different countries,” he says. “There is no right or wrong, it is about understanding the differences.”
“We are part of a successful worldwide group, but we are also in a position to act independently. This provides us with the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds – the strength and power of a large corporation and agility and speed, two of Hytec Group’s key success factors. I look forward to developing the Hytec Group as part of Bosch Rexroth together with the management team that has proven success in the past. I’m convinced we will be successful in the future.”
A short-term goal is for Tillmann to understand the way things are done in South Africa and “to get to know as many Hytec Group employees in all locations and countries as soon as I can. My primary responsibility is to ensure the successful growth of the Hytec Group. “All achievements to date are the result of all Hytec Group employees, delivering great solutions to our customers. This will not change so, with that in mind, focusing on our employees is my first concern.”
Married to Ingelise, the couple has three children aged between 10 and 15. When time permits, Tillmann cites mountain bike riding as a preferred leisure activity. He is also a passionate ski tourer and loves to travel and hike. He does not differentiate between business and leisure reading, with biographies of leaders in their fields his literature preference. “The common denominator is the passion with which they conduct their specialty – in both good and bad times. They didn’t give up, but set out to achieve their goals,” he concludes.