Christian Kurtzke was enticed earlier this year to leave the iconic eastern German porcelain manufacturer Meissner Porcelain and join Porsche Design, which has seen a period of rapid expansion in both product lines and store fronts. Sales at the luxury accessories firm, a spin-off of the famous carmaker, have been up, but are now plateauing, and profits are stagnating.
Mr. Kurtzke’s predecessor, Jürgen Gessler, resigned as the group headhunted a new leader. Now Mr. Kurtzke is driving at a different market sector, with the catchphrase “Everything that moves men” – to the 46-year-old that means watches, sunglasses, sports equipment, writing accessories and executive luggage.
Mr. Kurtzke is bringing about rapid changes at the firm’s luxury article design arm, of which Porsche AG and the Porsche family own a 65 percent and 35 percent share, respectively.
The idea behind the Porsche Design Group was to exploit the potential of the Porsche name in business areas unrelated to the auto industry and to continue the legacy of Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche after his death in 2012. As a subsidiary of a carmaker entering the luxury designer goods marketplace, Porsche Design is a rare phenomenon. The only comparison is perhaps the Italian automotive and design firm Pininfarina.