According to a press release issued earlier today by Heckler & Koch, the Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of parent company H&K AG Norbert Scheuch has been terminated from his position by the supervisory board. The release also stated that Wolfgang Hesse, the current sole Executive Board member, would be taking over operations for Heckler & Koch until Scheuch’s replacement can be appointed.
This news comes at a fairly delicate time for the German gunmaker. The company is building a new factory in the US, as it seeks to penetrate further into the US military and civilian gun markets. As part of this aggressive push, H&K’s product lineup has been significantly revised, as well, with the introduction of the HK433 and several other new models based on the HK416 and G36. On the other hand, the company has also had persistent financial difficulties to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, coupled with serious management issues. The failure to deliver XM25 CDTE weapons to the US government due to a company officer decisions, as well as the firing of experienced HK USA President Wayne Weber, both point to deeply buried threads of management shortcomings within the company itself. Whether Scheuch’s firing will be good or bad for the company in the long run remains to be seen, but it does seem to mark a turning point for the company. What is clear is that Heckler & Koch cannot afford any more management issues moving forward. Whoever steps into Scheuch’s shoes will need a sound strategy and a steady hand to guide the company through both its new endeavors and its current obstacles.