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Kolbus CEO in sudden departure

Wednesday, 13 February 2019
By Wayne Robinson

Gone: Kolbus CEO Kai Büntemeyer has suddenly left the company

Kolbus CEO Kai Büntemeyer has suddenly left the leading global finishing systems developer, surprising the industry after a 20 year stint at the helm of the historic business.

Büntemeyer is largely credited with saving the the family-owned company, which was on its knees when he joined as joint managing director in 1997. It had began operations more than two centuries earlier, in 1775, and had been in the same family ever since. It was one of the oldest engineering companies in the region, and still has its own foundry.

Following his appointment Kolbus began investing in developing new automated equipment, which led to a revival in the fortunes of the business. However the ongoing decline of the printing industry led Büntemeyer to tell local press last week that the company may have to go on short time working. Within days he was gone.

Büntemeyer became sole managing director in 2003, a position he has held ever since. Last year he sold the Kolbus bookbinding arm to rival Muller Martini. Also October last year Kolbus bought Autobox, the owner of digital corrugated box making systems developer BCS, which is sold here by Neil Southerington.

He was last in Australia at the opening of the new Griffin Press automated bookmaking line, which saw a web-fed HP PageWide T410 inkjet, a HP Indigo 10000 B2 sheetfed and HP Indigo 7800 digital press all inline with Kolbus finishing, to create what Büntemeyer at the time as described as ‘the world’s most advanced book printing facility.’

Kolbus sales director Wilfred Kröger is stepping up to replace Büntemeyer.

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