Dairy group: son of the patriarch: Stefan Müller becomes the new chief supervisor at Müller Milch
Düsseldorf A change at the top of the supervisory board is pending at the dairy group Müller Milch. Till Reuter is leaving the post of chief controller at the beginning of the year and will likely leave the company in the middle of the year. This emerges from a letter to the employees, which is available to the Handelsblatt.
Reuter is succeeded by Stefan Müller, the eldest son of the main owner Theo Müller. A company spokesman confirmed the process on Wednesday, but did not want to comment on it.
Reuter has been a member of the family company’s supervisory board since 2019. He had moved to the top in September 2019 – surprising to outsiders, since the manager had made Germany’s best-known robot manufacturer Kuka big and finally sold it to the Chinese company Midea.
It is reported from company circles that the move had been planned for a long time. Stefan Müller was already operationally active in his father’s company. In 2014 he left Müller Milch and headed the start-up Colostrum Biotec.
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The 54-year-old has been back on the supervisory board since the beginning of 2020, replacing his father, who turned the company from a four-man operation into a corporation. The 81-year-old is formally no longer on a management body, but is still the main owner. His nine children in total have so far only held a few shares in the company, which is based in Luxembourg. The patriarch himself lives in Switzerland.
Reuter will train Stefan Müller as a member of the supervisory board and then leave the committee, the letter said. In addition, Stefan Müller and his brother-in-law Andreas Hoh will represent the owner family on the committee.
The return of Stefan Müller is proof that “despite the significant growth in sales from around six billion to around seven billion euros and a workforce that has increased from 26,000 to around 34,000, the company will continue to have all the advantages of a thoroughbred in the future will benefit from a solid and healthy and therefore crisis-proof family business, ”the letter says.
A successor to the supervisory board has to be found for Reuter by summer at the latest. In addition to Müller and Hoh, the lawyer Rainer Lorz, who specializes in family businesses, is a member of the committee.
The strategic decisions are made in the Müller supervisory board
In the Müller Group, the head of the supervisory board is in charge of strategic management. During his tenure, Reuter restructured the English fresh milk business and brought it back into the black, according to company-related circles. The salad division was also sold. In the future, Müller will only sell dressings under the Homann brand, the ready-made salads were sold to Signature Foods and Wernsing.
Reuter had mainly bought in logistics, but not in its core business. This also includes the acquisition of Culina in Great Britain. There you are “market leader”, as it goes on in the letter. In the meantime, Müller Milch also offers vegan products, but it did not jump on this trend until relatively late. “A big step for Theo Müller,” says a company expert.
Theo Müller is decisive, direct and thinks quickly in clear categories, his son Stefan, on the other hand, is more reserved and less decisive, says a confidante of the family.
Naturally, successors from their own families have a harder time asserting themselves against successful patriarchs and breaking new ground than managers from outside the family like Reuter. In previous conversations, however, Reuter had always emphasized that he had a good relationship with Theo Müller and was also a sparring partner for him.
For Reuter, its mission in the group seems to be completed, as it sounds through in the Christmas letter. It is still unclear what plans the manager will pursue in the future. The 53-year-old is also invested in a few start-ups.
After moving to Müller, the manager had also brought HR manager Silvia Buchinger with him, who had already left the group in September, as the company confirmed.
More: For a long time, the successor to the founder on the dairy supervisory board had not been clarified. Now the eldest son Stefan is to take his father’s place.