Palfinger CEO Herbert Ortner leaves at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After almost ten years in the position
  • Accolades, praise, thanks, words of regret and good wishes for Ortner
  • Search for a successor
  • Ortner said 58 words

(exechange) — Bergheim, Austria, November 08, 2017 — Herbert Ortner, chief executive of Palfinger, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Palfinger AG in a news release on Wednesday, November 08, 2017, Herbert Ortner leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the manufacturer of hydraulic lifting, loading and handling systems after almost ten years in the position, effective December 31, 2017.

Palfinger will undertake a search for a successor.

No reason given

In the announcement, Palfinger did not explicitly explain the reason for Ortner’s imminent move, leaving room for speculation.

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

Wake-up call

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CEO leaves the position at short notice and without a reasonable explanation.

“Terminate his position”

Palfinger said: “Herbert Ortner, Chief Executive Officer of Palfinger AG, informed the Supervisory Board today that he does not intend to prolong his contract that terminates by the end of the year 2018. Therefore, he agreed with the Nomination Comittee of the Supervisory Board to terminate his position as of December 31st, 2017 and to organize a smooth handover in the upcoming weeks. After that time, Herbert Ortner will act as a counsellor to the Palfinger family.”

Share price rise since February 2009

The change follows a rise in the share price of Palfinger AG since February 2009.

Chaired by Hubert Palfinger jun.

Palfinger AG is chaired by Hubert Palfinger jun.

Hubert Palfinger has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board since December 10, 2013.

In the position of CEO since 2008

Herbert Ortner has been the Chief Executive Officer of Palfinger AG since June 19, 2008.

Herbert Ortner joined the management team of Palfinger 16 years ago, only after almost two years he was elected into the Management Board as CMO.

Under his leadership, the global service business has been fully developed and is a reliable contributor to stable earnings.

He then assumed responsibility for the segment „Hydraulic Systems“ and completed the product portfolio.

2008, on the eve of the financial crisis, he has been appointed to the position of the Chief Executive Officer.

At that time, he was the youngest CEO of any industrial company in Austria.

Since the financial crisis he tripled revenues from EUR 505 million in 2009 to approximately EUR 1.5 billion in 2017 and tenfold increased operative earnings measured by EBITDA.

Palfinger acquired und integrated more than 30 companies and developed to a global player with a complete range of innovative lifting solutions for use on commercial vehicles and in the maritime field, with production and assembling facilities in Europe, in North and South America as well as in Asia.


Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step down with no successor in place, it is a sign that the move was unexpected and too early.

Generally speaking, potential causes for an unplanned management change may be, among others, disagreement or dispute, family reasons, health reasons and surprising new career opportunities.

As announced by Palfinger AG in a news release on Monday, June 12, 2017, Christoph Kaml left the post as Chief Financial Officer at the maker of lifting products in a surprising move after almost nine years on the job, effective August 31, 2017.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Herbert Ortner’s imminent 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 46.2017 ($).