Heckler and Koch announced in a recent press release that Nicola Marinelli has been appointed to the Board of Executives, and would be taking over as manager of operations:
Oberndorf. Effective June 1st, 2015, Nicola Marinelli has been appointed to the Executive Board of Heckler & Koch GmbH. In his new role, Marinelli will be leading the operative management of the Group. Over the course of this year, he will take over the position of speaker of the executive board. Mr. Marinelli has extensive experience in leadership positions at Rheinmetall AG and Thyssen Krupp AG.
“We are extremely pleased that we were able to attract Mr. Marinelli, an industry veteran for military products and the management of military projects for both the Bundeswehr as well as allied armies,” said Andreas Heeschen, majority owner of Heckler & Koch.
Andreas Heeschen, who oversaw the Group’s operative management from February, will now focus primarily on strategic issues. “I strongly believe that it was a good decision to lead the company myself in these challenging times which I very much enjoy. I am nonetheless delighted to hand over to my tremendously qualified colleague,” Heeschen stated. “Together we will continue and broaden our strategy of improved corporate communications and increased transparency.”
Until late 2013, Mr Marinelli served as COO of the Combat Platforms division at Rheinmetall Defence, having responsibility for nine production sites in Germany and Switzerland with 2,000 employees.
Marinelli’s appointment is not the only lineup change to occur at H&K. The company also announced that Martin Newton, former BAE Systems executive and H&K CEO, would be returning as CEO of Heckler & Koch North America:
Ashburn, Virginia, USA. Heckler & Koch has announced that from 1st June, 2015, Martin Newton is to take over the position of Chief Executive Officer of Heckler & Koch in North America. He will be in charge of further expanding the company’s military and civilian business in the North American market.
“We are extremely pleased that Heckler & Koch has been able to convince Martin Newton to return,” said Andreas Heeschen, majority owner of Heckler & Koch. “We are absolutely convinced that Mr. Newton – with all his competence and experience – will effectively lead our future activities in the United States, both in the military and the civilian sector. The company’s U.S. activities have developed well over the last years. This development perfectly reflects our clients’ trust in the quality of Heckler & Koch products. It is our strategy to further expand our business in the North American market.”
Mr. Newton served 13 years in various positions in the financial divisions of the British defense and aerospace company BAE Systems. In 2003, he started his career at Heckler & Koch’s holding company. By January 2004, he was appointed CFO of the Heckler & Koch Group, and he became CEO in July 2007. For family reasons, Mr. Newton resigned from this position in September 2009 and transitioned to the company’s Non-Executive Board where he remained until October 2010. He most recently held the position of CFO at Schoeller Allibert, a world leader packaging systems.
These changes come after Heckler & Koch became embroiled in a controversy surrounding the G36 rifle and its suitability as a military weapon. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen spoke about the rifle, saying it “had no future with the Bundeswehr”. Whether these executive changes are in response to the controversy is unclear, and whether they will help improve Heckler & Koch’s tarnished reputation remains to be seen.