Fielmann CEO

Eyewear Patriarch Not Keen to Pass on the Baton

Not in a hurry to cede his seat to his son: CEO Günther Fielmann. Source: Christian Charisius/DPA

Günther Fielmann, one of Germany’s most senior entrepreneurs, is not ready to retire just yet. The 77-year old founder of a large chain of optical stores has extended his contract as chief executive by a further three years, according to German business news magazine Capital.

“We are convinced that he will keep leading Fielmann successfully, just as usual,” Supervisory Board Chairman Mark Binz told the magazine. Mr. Fielmann opened his first shop in northern Germany 45 years ago and the company is now Europe’s largest chain of eyewear shops, employing 17,000 people in seven European countries, including Germany, Italy or Switzerland. With its network of 700 stores, Fielmann achieved €1.34 billion, or $1.42 billion, in sales and a profit of €241 million in 2015.

The CEO’s contract now runs until June 2020, months before Mr. Fielmann turns 81. Who will succeed him is an open secret. Marc Fielmann, the 27-year old son of the patriarch, has been marketing director of the Xetra-listed firm since last year. He will have big shoes to fill when the time comes but is undaunted. “My father always gave me a lot of responsibility, ever since I was a child,” he said. “Sometimes, people thought it was too much, but in retrospect, it was the right thing.”


Christoph Kapalschinski covers consumer goods, textiles and food for Handelsblatt. To contact the author:

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