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Martin Wittig steps down as Roland Berger CEO on health grounds

Martin Wittig

Frankfurt: Dr. Martin Wittig has stepped down as CEO of German strategy consultant Roland Berger for health reasons. Former CEO Burkhard Schwenker has assumed his responsibilities.

"It's not an easy step for me to take," says Wittig. "But I urgently need some time off for medical treatment that I simply can't postpone any longer." He will therefore be withdrawing from all business activities for some months, but says he is confident of returning "in perfect health afterwards."

Dr. Martin Wittig (born in 1964) joined Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in 1995. He was elected Partner as early as 1999. Wittig has made a significant contribution to the firm's restructuring business, developing what was a very small Swiss office into number three in the market. He has been a member of the Global Executive Committee since July 2003 and CFO since 2004. In July 2010, the Partners appointed him CEO of the global Executive Committee.

"We deeply regret Martin Wittig's decision," says Professor Dr. Burkhard Schwenker, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. His move means the company will have to do without an excellent consultant and successful manager for some time now. "Not only is he a true entrepreneur, but he's also become a close friend of mine over the past few years."

Since taking over as CEO of the company in July 2010, Wittig has steadily expanded the firm's international footprint. "Today, our company has 51 offices in 36 countries," explains Schwenker. "We are very strong in Asia, especially in China, have further expanded our key position in Europe and are growing successfully in the US."

Prof. Dr. Roland Berger, founder and Honorary Chairman of the consultancy, says: "I respect Martin's courageous step and wish him a speedy and complete recovery. I am glad that he will continue to play a key role in our company and that I can stay in touch with him personally through our work together for the Roland Berger Foundation."

After his break, Wittig will continue to contribute his experience and contacts for Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and serve as Chairman of the Supervisory Board for the Swiss office. Founder Roland Berger has also asked him to join his Foundation's Board of Trustees.

Professor Dr. Burkhard Schwenker, the current Supervisory Board Chairman, will take over from Wittig as CEO. Schwenker is already familiar with this job because he had been CEO from 2003 to 2010 before moving to the top of the Supervisory Board. Previous Deputy Chairman, Vincent Mercier from the Paris office, will now take over as Chairman of that body.

Strategic cornerstones

At their semi-annual meeting in Frankfurt this Saturday, some 250 Partners of the company agreed to this move. They also discussed the business situation and future strategic alignment of the largest strategy consulting firm of European origin. The Partners also adopted the cornerstones of the firm's future strategy and assigned management with the task of examining all options for the further development of the firm. The next Partner meeting will be held in summer 2013.

Asia head Charles Edouard Bouée (Shanghai), restructuring expert Bernd Brunke (Berlin), automotive expert Ralf Kalmbach (Munich) and Tijo Collot d'Escury (Amsterdam) remain members of the global Executive Committee.

The Partners further appointed Vincent Mercier (64) new Chairman of the Supervisory Board. He graduated from the École des Mines, France, and holds a master's degree in economics and an MBA from Johnson School of Cornell University, USA. Mercier joined Roland Berger in 2003 as Managing Partner of the Paris office. A year later, he also assumed responsibility for the Belgian office. His regional responsibilities further included China, Morocco and the Netherlands. Mercier was elected to the EC in 2004 and to the Supervisory Board in July 2010. Ever since, he has been Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

António Bernardo (Lisbon), Stefan Schaible (Hamburg) and Wu Qi (Beijing) remain members of the Supervisory Board.

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