Stada CEO Matthias Wiedenfels leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about a year on the job
  • Thanks for Wiedenfels
  • Engelbert Tjeenk Willink taking over in the interim

(exechange) — Bad Vilbel, Germany, July 04, 2017 — Matthias Wiedenfels, chief executive of Stada, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Stada Arzneimittel AG in a news release on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, Matthias Wiedenfels leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the pharmaceutical company in a surprising move after about a year on the job, effective immediately.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first year.

Wiedenfels’ move comes ten months after Carl Ferdinand Oetker took over as chairman of Stada Arzneimittel AG.

Wiedenfels’ duties are taken over in the interim by Engelbert Tjeenk Willink, a former member of the Executive Board at Boehringer Ingelheim.

The fact that Wiedenfels’ successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

Wiedenfels’ move is part of a management shake-up also involving the position of Chief Financial Officer.

The duties of Chief Financial Officer will be taken over with immediate effect by Bernhard Düttmann. Chief Financial, Marketing and Sales Officer Helmut Kraft has informed the Supervisory Board that he will step down from his positions with immediate effect.

“Personal reasons”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Stada said that incumbent Chief Executive Officer Matthias Wiedenfels has informed the Supervisory Board that he will step down from his position with immediate effect “for personal reasons”.

In the announcement, the company did not detail the personal reasons causing Wiedenfels to leave the position, leaving room for speculation.

Precise information about the future plans of Wiedenfels was not immediately available.

Share price rise since November 2016

The change follows a rise in the share price of Stada Arzneimittel AG since November 2016.

Chaired by Carl Ferdinand Oetker

Stada Arzneimittel AG is chaired by Carl Ferdinand Oetker.

He has been the Chairman of Supervisory Board at Stada since August 27, 2016.

On the job as CEO since 2016

Wiedenfels’ bio reads as follows:

  • born April 15, 1973
  • Since June 5, 2016 Chairman of the Executive Board/CEO at Stada Arzneimittel AG
  • From 2013 till June 5, 2016 Chief Business Development & Central Services Officer at Stada Arzneimittel AG
  • 2009 – 2013 Various positions in the management of Stada Arzneimittel AG, including positions as General Counsel, Head of Human Resources, Chief Compliance Officer, Head of Risk Management
  • 2002 – 2009 Lawyer at Ashurst LLP
  • 1999 – 2001 Legal clerkship in the district of the Regional High Court, Frankfurt am Main
  • 1998 – 1999 Completed doctorate in Law (Dr. iur.)
  • 1993 – 1998 Completed law degree at the University of Heidelberg, Montpellier (France) and Freiburg im Breisgau.

At the time of Wiedenfels’ appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Stada, Martin Abend, then Chairman of the Supervisory Board, stated about the appointment: “With Matthias Wiedenfels, an experienced, long-serving manager is initially taking over at the helm of the Executive Board. He has played an influential part in the group’s positive development in the past years and he will consequently drive forward the initiated change for the benefit of the company. With that he stands for continuity as well as the ability to give the company the continuously necessary new impulses. We are sure that Stada will continue to develop exceptionally successful, not only because of a growth strategy that is acknowledged in the market and with highly motivated employees.”


As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step down with no permanent successor available, it is a signal that the change was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Matthias Wiedenfels’ sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 28.2017 ($).