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STABILO under new leadership

24. June 2019

Horst Brinkmann takes over the responsibility as the new Managing Director of STABILO International GmbH and succeeds Sebastian Schwanhäußer, who will be taking responsibility for the entire business...

STABILO International under new leadership

Horst Brinkmann is the new head of STABILO’s Writing Instrument sector


Horst Brinkmann is the new Managing Director of STABILO International GmbH. On 1 July 2019, the 55-year-old will succeed executive shareholder Sebastian Schwanhäußer, who has been appointed CEO of the Schwan-STABILO Group. The internationally active group, which employs 4,900 people worldwide across three independent business areas (Cosmetics, Writing Instruments and Outdoor), has thereby completed the restructuring of its management team.

Alongside Horst Brinkmann (Writing Instruments), the current Managing Directors of the operative subgroups have been confirmed as

Dr Jörg Karas (Cosmetics) and Martin Riebel (Outdoor). As Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sebastian Schwanhäußer is responsible for the group’s entire business together with Martin Reim as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).


Pragmatic and visionary

“Horst Brinkmann has not only earned a fantastic reputation in the industry,” said Sebastian Schwanhäußer, “he has above all positively shaped our company through his equally pragmatic and visionary approach. We are very happy that we were able to get him on board for this new challenge.” The native Rhinelander began working
at STABILO in 1996 as ‘Director of International Marketing’ and has been a member of the STABILO executive board since 2013. Within this role, Horst Brinkmann has taken on the global responsibility for Sales, Marketing and Research and Development, and continued to successfully advance these areas to this day. The grouping of these business areas proved to be a strategically groundbreaking decision for STABILO.


Successful brand work

While the writing instruments market is stagnating worldwide and even shrinking in Germany, the company based the Franconian town of Heroldsberg was able to increase turnover by five percent to 193.4 million euros last year.

In past years Horst Brinkmann and his team have continued to bring the brand into focus – and in doing so have repositioned it, because Brinkmann’s motto is “strong brands need a clear set of rules and regular evaluations.” He is convinced that “the brand equates to a company’s performance in customers’ minds, is the most important distinguishing feature in crowded markets and acts as a catalyst and source of energy within the organisation itself!” “We are currently managing our brand work using the parameters growth in market share, recommendation rate, i.e. ‘net promoter score’, brand touchpoints and evaluation of barriers-to-purchase.”  This commitment seems to be paying off: according to GfK (EU 6 Trade panel), STABILO has the highest recommendation rate in the European market, meaning that STABILO is once again the fastest-growing brand.


Business areas determine sales structure

Europe and Asia have been the focus regions since the reorganisation of 2013’s sales strategy under the responsibility of Horst Brinkmann. “This was an intensive organisation process for us all,” said the manager, “but it is already paying off because STABILO’s core product range and even the new fountain pen segment has experienced above-average growth in Europe in the last two fiscal years,” he enthuses.


Research and Development focus on customers

“When we reorganised the entire development process, we wanted to be faster and closer to the customer,” says Brinkmann, explaining the starting position at the time and referring to the share of new products, which is now significantly higher than before. In addition, the company used new, digital business areas to tap into different customer bases, particularly in the fields of school and education.


Impressive team player 

More innovations, increased flexibility and stronger customer orientation – these are the duties that Horst Brinkmann will be carrying out – in his own words, “with great passion” – in his new role in future. It is just as important to him for the different company areas across the globe to continue cooperating well and networking closely with one another. “I am convinced that our future viability is
largely determined by our performance as a team.” 
This has already worked well for STABILO in the past and the figures provide impressive proof. The STABILO subgroup employs a total of 1,437 people in 15 countries, who are on the verge of surpassing the 200 million euro turnover mark. The “STABILO BOSS” highlighter accounts for a considerable proportion of this, having sold more than two billion times since its launch.

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