Krauss-Maffei Kunststofftechnik GmbH announced Josef MÃ¤rtl, its top executive, left the company July 31 ``by mutual agreement,'' in a surprise departure from the biggest unit of Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH.
MÃ¤rtl, a 34-year veteran of Krauss-Maffei, has held the top post, chairman of the managing board, since 2003. Munich, Germany-based KM manufactures injection molding machines, extruders and polyurethane processing equipment.
Krauss-Maffei announced the news Aug. 3. MÃ¤rtl could not be reached for comment.
Krauss-Maffei, with 2006 sales of about 560 million euros ($700 million) generates about half the total sales for its parent, machinery conglomerate Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH. KM is much bigger than the other MPM units, fellow injection press makers Demag Plastics Group and Netstal-Maschinen AG, and Berstorff GmbH, which makes compounding extruders.
Manfred Reichel, Berstorff's president and chief executive officer, will temporarily take over MÃ¤rtl's duties, supported by the KM management team.
MPM, also based in Munich, was purchased by Chicago investment group Madison Capital Partners in mid-2006.
The departure of MÃ¤rtl, 49, is raising eyebrows in European plastics machinery circles. Under MÃ¤rtl's leadership, Krauss-Maffei has reported five straight years of increased sales.
Dietmar Straub, MPM's chairman and CEO, expressed the firm's gratitude for MÃ¤rtl's years of service. ``I would like to thank him for his great commitment; he has rendered the company outstanding service and has been instrumental in its successful growth,'' Straub said in a statement.
MÃ¤rtl led KM during its ownership by two U.S. buyout companies - Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and now, Madison Capital. Unlike some German executives, who can chafe at ownership by U.S. financial buyers, MÃ¤rtl often expressed his support. When Madison Capital bought KM, he praised Madison officials as ``really knowledgeable people in the plastics industry.''