Press Release

2011: changes in the Carl Zeiss executive board

Dr. Dieter Kurz hands over his office as CEO to Dr. Michael Kaschke on 1 January 2011  

24 June 2010

  • Thomas Spitzenpfeil appointed new CFO of Carl Zeiss AG
OBERKOCHEN, Germany | 24 June 2010 | ZEISS Group
At its meeting of 24 June 2010 the Supervisory Board of Carl Zeiss AG passed a unanimous resolution concerning personnel changes in the Executive Board. As planned, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss AG, Dr. Dieter Kurz, will not renew his contract that is due to expire at the end of 2010. Dr. Michael Kaschke, Member of the Carl Zeiss Executive Board, was appointed as the new President and CEO, effective 1 January 2011.
Thomas Spitzenpfeil, currently CFO at Zumtobel AG, has been appointed as a new Member of the Executive Board effective 1 October 2010. In his role as CFO he will be responsible, among other things, for the company’s finances in the future. Together with Dr. Hermann Gerlinger, who has been a Member of the Executive Board since 2006, Dr. Michael Kaschke and Thomas Spitzenpfeil will constitute the Executive Board of Carl Zeiss AG from 2011.

Carl Zeiss is fast-growing and very profitable

The Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Theo Spettmann, thanked Dr. Dieter Kurz for his many years of very successful work for the Carl Zeiss Group: “The Supervisory Board explicitly honored Dr. Dieter Kurz for his success in steering Carl Zeiss onto a course of sustained growth since 2001. Under his leadership the Executive Board has succeeded in combining international expansion with stable, above-average profitability. Carl Zeiss is now very well positioned – not only in view of its very healthy economic base, but also thanks to its broad business portfolio and technology leadership. Dr. Kurz is held in very high esteem not only by the Supervisory Board, but also by all employees, industry as a whole and the political world. Particularly in the past two years marked by the global economic crisis, Dr. Kurz has impressively shown that he combines a high sense of responsibility with strategic vision in the best interest of the company.”

A success story to be continued

The Supervisory Board considers that Dr. Michael Kaschke is the ideal person to succeed Dr. Dieter Kurz. “This has been repeatedly demonstrated by Dr. Kaschke in his functions at Carl Zeiss and during his ten years as a Member of the Executive Board,” Dr. Spettmann continued. “He acquired his many years of experience in the international arena during, for example, the expansion of Carl Zeiss activities in Asia, particularly in India and China. With his in-depth understanding of innovation and strategic business development, he has successfully driven forward the Microscopy and Medical Systems Groups. His stringent and holistic financial management of individual business groups and the entire Carl Zeiss Group has made a major contribution to the Group’s outstanding balance sheet.“

Jürgen Dömel, Deputy Chairman of the Carl Zeiss Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Group Works Council, emphasized: “Under the leadership of Dr. Kurz the Carl Zeiss Executive Board has succeeded in placing the company on a healthy foundation again and steering it onto the road to success. To achieve this goal, it is also necessary to communicate necessary changes to the workforce while simultaneously ensuring that the legacy of Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe is kept alive in the fast-moving world of globalization. We are pleased that, with the appointment of Dr. Kaschke, a long-standing Member of the Executive Board will continue this success story in the future.”

As a new Member of the Executive Board, Thomas Spitzenpfeil will assume the position of CFO in the future. Dr. Spettmann said: “We are pleased that, with Thomas Spitzenpfeil, we have obtained an internationally experienced manager and financial expert for this position. I firmly believe that Carl Zeiss will remain on track to sustained value enhancement in the future.”

Short resumes

Dr. Dieter Kurz, born in Tübingen in 1948, has been a Member of the Carl Zeiss Executive Board since 1999 and President and CEO since 2001. He joined Carl Zeiss in 1979 after finishing his studies and obtaining his doctorate in physics. After holding various management positions in development and research, marketing and sales, including two years in North America, he headed the Semiconductor Optics Division and then the Semiconductor Technology Group. In the Carl Zeiss Executive Board Dr. Kurz’s responsibilities include Industrial Metrology, Consumer Optics/Optronics, the Europe and Latin America regions and major corporate functions.

Dr. Michael Kaschke, born in Greiz in 1957, has been a Member of the Carl Zeiss Executive Board since 2000. Kaschke joined Carl Zeiss in 1992 after studying physics and obtaining his doctorate and holding various positions as a scientist in the Max Planck Institute, the Max Born Institute and in the IBM Research Center in the USA. From 1995 onwards, he headed the Surveying Instruments Division and then the Surgical Instruments Division, and became Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Medical Systems Group in 1999. As a Member of the Carl Zeiss Executive Board, Dr. Kaschke's duties include corporate finance, medical systems, microscopy and the Asia-Pacific region.

Thomas Spitzenpfeil, born in Bad Saulgau in 1962, is an industrial engineer. After working in various positions at Robert Bosch GmbH, VIAG AG and Kodak AG, he held management functions in Controlling and Finance at VAW aluminium AG. After the acquisition of VAW aluminium AG by Norsk Hydro in 2002, be became CFO of the Rolled Products Division. In 2004 he moved as CFO to the publicly listed company Zumtobel AG, Dornbirn, Austria. In the future, his responsibilities on the Carl Zeiss Executive Board will include finances.

Press Contact Jörg Nitschke Head of Corporate Communications


The Carl Zeiss Group is a leading group of companies operating worldwide in the optical and optoelectronic industries that generates revenues totaling around EUR 2.1 billion (2008/09).

Carl Zeiss offers innovative solutions for the future-oriented markets of Medical and Research Solutions, Industrial Solutions and Lifestyle Products. The company develops and distributes surgical microscopes, diagnostic systems for ophthalmology, microscopes, lithography optics, industrial measuring technology, planetarium technology, optronic products, camera and cine lenses, and binoculars and spotting scopes. The eyeglass business is bundled in the joint venture Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH.
The Carl Zeiss Group has approximately 13,000 employees, including more than 8,000 in Germany. The Carl Zeiss business groups hold leading positions in their markets.

Carl Zeiss AG is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation). Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany.

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