Stephan Braig is stepping down as president and CEO of Engel Machinery Inc. effective March 31, the end of Engel's fiscal year.
Engel announced the news Jan. 15. Braig will be replaced by Mark Sankovitch, a 20-year Engel veteran who currently is Engel's regional sales manager for the Midwest and South. Sankovitch said he will work closely with Braig to make the transition seamless and non-disruptive.
Though he is resigning from Engel, Braig said he wants to remain in plastics. I'm talking to a few companies and my intent is to stay in the plastics industry, he said.
He joined Engel in mid-2007, taking over for Walter Jungwirth, who returned to Schwertberg, Austria, the headquarters of injection press and robot maker Engel Holding GmbH.
Braig's background includes serving as president of Euro Packaging LLC, a film and bag maker in Salem, N.H., and at robot maker Automated Assemblies Corp. in Clinton, Mass.
His term at Engel was marked by restructuring in the face of a collapsing U.S. market for injection molding machines. That was part of the plan for Braig and his team, he said.
That's what I have done and now it's time to move on, and do something more challenging, he said in a Jan. 15 telephone interview from York, Pa. The fit is not here anymore.
Just a few months after he joined Engel, the company announced it was closing its longtime factory in Guelph, Ontario, which made small to midsized injection presses and robots. That manufacturing work moved to Engel's North American headquarters in York, which handled assembly of large-tonnage presses.
But Braig said Engel scaled back the York work, and did no assembly there throughout 2009 a brutal year that saw U.S. injection press sales crash down to around 1,200-1,300 units, or about half the level of 2008.
Engel now is bringing presses in from Austria and other locations, he said, but added that press assembly could resume in York if the market picks up.
As Engel scaled back its North American manufacturing, the company invested several million dollars to open technical centers last year in Mexico and California, to get closer to customers.
Under Braig's leadership, he said, Engel has doubled its U.S. market share while reducing fixed costs.
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