Focus Areas

Kai Matthias Liebe

Kai Matthias Liebe

Managing Partner
Tel. +49 89 235 135 - 701

Industry & Automotive

The automotive industry is facing a radical shake-up across the board, whether in terms of far-reaching technological developments (CO2 debate, future drive technologies, e-mobility, etc.), a change in consumer attitudes (functionality versus image, environmental protection, etc.) or a shift in the balance of power within the industry (advent of new competitors from other fields, increasing independence from individual strategic suppliers, etc.). Car manufacturers and their suppliers are also struggling with declining revenues and over-capacities amid global competition. Uncertain trends in energy prices and increasing pressure to consolidate, causing a shift in the structure of the sector, as well as the advent of new competitors from developing countries, are shaping the future scenario of a much-changed automotive and supply industry.

Every company operating in today's automotive sector must take a critical look at its own role in this new market. The radical market shake-up requires an ability to look beyond the familiar confines of the industry. This is based on the capacity to develop, expand and manage new and existing business models, as well as to shape creative potential and adequate resources in line with entrepreneurial demands. In particular, securing adequate financial resources in the short term is currently at the forefront of any entrepreneurial decision.

A balance has to be struck between long-term strategic measures and short-term steps designed to secure the existence of the company, in order to enable future challenges to be tackled head-on.

Such changes in the strategic environment require that managers in particular, but also supervisory boards, establish foundations that are in keeping with the prevailing market conditions. Key skills are increasingly manifested in change-management abilities. Personalities capable of developing and implementing innovative strategies and guaranteeing sustained international networking will increasingly make the crucial difference.

Liebe • Sutor • Gawlowski supports you in approaching and placing these personalities, focussing on operations as well as production, purchasing, logistics and development in its project work. Strategy, organisation, and sales and marketing are also becoming increasingly important areas, however.

The Automotive & Industry team advises companies on filling vacant managerial positions at levels 1 to 3, as well as strategically significant specialist positions and staff department vacancies.

The focus is on technical and commercial management tasks, divisional management and departmental management. Our customers include well-known medium-sized companies, automobile manufacturers and owner-managed companies. The focus is on manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry.

Markus Sutor

Markus Sutor

Managing Partner
Tel. +49 89 235 135 - 702

Consumer Goods & Trade

German and international consumers are re-evaluating their priorities – one-dimensional decisions to purchase solely on the basis of price are proving less and less effective. Although a low price level still constitutes an important criterion, it is losing its dominant status. Attributes such as quality and performance are increasingly taking centre stage and manifesting sustainable differentiation criteria.

This development is providing brand manufacturers and retailers with new strategic and tactical options. Even in the wake of this turnaround, trade and industry are still facing major challenges. However, their traditional strengths such as customer orientation and brand leadership make them well equipped to meet these. If they continue to invest in operative excellence, they will have a very strong hand indeed. Global sourcing, supply chain management, lean retailing, sales and distribution are particularly noteworthy areas in this context.

Discerning consumers, demographic change, stiff competition, high cost pressure and short product life cycles are among the industry accelerators in our eyes.

A balance must be struck between long-term strategic measures and short-term measures designed to secure the existence of the company, in order to enable future challenges to be tackled head-on.
Such changes in the strategic environment require that managers in particular, but also supervisory boards, maintain a basis that focuses on what are fundamental strategies in this situation.

Liebe • Sutor • Gawlowski supports you in approaching and placing these personalities.

The Consumer Goods & Trade team advises companies on filling vacant managerial positions at levels 1 to 3, as well as strategically significant specialist positions and staff department vacancies.

The focus is on technical and commercial management tasks, divisional and departmental management. Our clients include well-known German small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as owner-managed businesses.

Adrian Gawlowski

Adrian Gawlowski

Managing Partner
Tel. +49 89 235 135 - 703

Private Equity & Automotive

Private equity companies, having raised the necessary funds, face the challenge of investing their capital profitably. The market is becoming increasingly competitive, partly because international investors are joining the fray. Investment strategies frequently focus on the “hidden champions” among Germany's small and medium-sized enterprises.

In the case of growth financing in suitable target companies, the investment strategy of private equity companies is characterised by a favourable risk/return ratio. The target company should also boast a stable cash flow and/or appropriate EBITDA figures.

PE transactions often take the form of a leveraged buy-out (LBO) – this means that the investment has been made largely on the strength of borrowed capital. The aim is to generate as high a return as possible on the invested equity capital. Increasing the equity return is described as the leverage effect. It depends on total profitability being higher than interest on the borrowed capital. Management buy-outs (MBOs) are relatively common, but result in a number of operative challenges that have to be overcome.

Challenges to private equity companies:

Origination

The biggest challenge faced by a private equity company is to identify the right targets. Compatibility with the above-mentioned value drivers (EBITDA, cash flow and risk/return ratio) is important, but the target must also match the individual investment strategy, which is often geared to sales levels, sectors and the existing network. Proprietary deals are generally sought, as the purchase price in such cases is often commensurate with expected performance. Considerable networking is required if this strategy is to succeed.

Management access

Once a potential target has been identified, the next question is often “How can I make an initial, discreet approach to the company / its shareholders?” This fundamental issue can make or break a deal. Communication is key.

Due diligence

Due diligence is essential if the potential of a target is to be assessed accurately. This is a virtually impossible task unless the right industry experts from the same sector as the target are involved. However, it is also a good idea to bring in experts from the respective sales markets, as they are familiar with customer requirements and can provide referenced access to potential contacts. Here, too, intensive networking is also indispensable.

Management / supervisory board

The purchase and future development of the company stands and falls with the management and supervisory board. Management constitutes the link between the financial investor and the business operations of the portfolio company. A detailed selection process is imperative with a view to minimising the risk.

LSG & Kollegen GmbH has geared its services to tackling the raft of extremely demanding challenges that face private equity companies. We provide our private equity clients with exclusive networking; among other things, we pledge to contact the right people in the right sectors at all the right stages of the process. We work closely with our clients to define potential sectors, sub-sectors and target companies.

Christiane Kraus

Christiane Kraus

Partner
Tel. +49 89 235 135 - 706

Media & Entertainment

Nothing is more constant and faster than change.

The number of media companies of all types and sizes is currently growing at an extremely rapid pace. And the expectation is that this trend will continue for some time to come. This is due to the increasing demand for electronic entertainment and convergent technology, as well as to fast-paced technical developments that facilitate new globally accessible online applications on a daily basis. Boundaries are blurring and the availability of one-click solutions from a single source is growing all the time. Online trading is one area that is becoming increasingly important. This is particularly true of the entertainment industry, whose products are usually distributed in digital as well as physical form.

As a result, the media world has become one of the most dynamic and competitive sectors of all.

Companies have to take special measures to tackle the challenges of this constant digital change. User behaviour is becoming more and more short-lived, with companies having to adapt both their offering and the manner of its delivery on an ongoing basis in order to appeal to the customer and maintain a competitive edge. Fascinating options are created by combining new technologies, but this also raises the level of complexity and places new demands on the entire workforce. Digitisation is increasing in both the private and the professional sphere, blurring numerous boundaries in the areas of technology and the working world alike. Every company must be aware of the importance of new technologies and what can be achieved by their use. The manpower requirements of the sector as a whole are expected to increase further.

Thus an efficient and tailored recruitment policy constitutes a crucial success factor.

It is not change per se that determines the future, but the way in which your staff deal with it.

The current upheavals can only be translated into business opportunities if the right managers are in place. Skill profiles change so quickly in this context, becoming ever more complex just like the digital sector itself.

The future belongs to companies that are capable of transcending boundaries and shrugging off rigid concepts in their bid to provide innovative and competitive products and services such as multi-access technologies. At the same time, they must conclude any transactions extremely quickly and act flexibly across borders. A complicating factor is that the companies in this sector often have to operate in already saturated markets. All of this requires new and extended management expertise. Knowledge of the interdependencies and synergies between technologies, media and telecommunications is also highly sought-after – and absolutely indispensable for the management team of companies from all sectors, whether global group, SME or start-up.

We concentrate on finding exceptional employees for our clients. These are people who are capable of acting flexibly, and consequently successfully, in a market characterised by fast-paced change and of making a mark in their industry.

What is required are new generalists with a specific profile.

In the media and entertainment industry in particular, a different type of generalist who can become familiar with new topics extremely quickly in line with the dynamism of the sector is being sought for management roles. These new managers must also possess character and individuality and be able to lead teams in authentic fashion. Moreover, they should boast well-developed analytical and quantitative capabilities in order to be able to immerse themselves in the respective data where required. The more dynamic the sector, the more the emphasis is on team players. A close connection between sectors is vital in these markets. Networkers who facilitate interdisciplinary operations across a range of sectors and whose work can take companies to the next level are increasingly sought-after.

Let us establish the connections for you.

Liebe • Sutor • Gawlowski supports you in approaching and placing these personalities, both at management and specialist level. Our clients include well-known German small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as media groups and owner-managed businesses. The focus is on publishing houses, agencies, multimedia (production) companies and the television and music industry.

Not only do our consultants boast long-standing industry and specialist know-how and the corresponding network, but they also listen carefully to what you – our clients – have to say. Thus our connections can help create solutions tailored to your specific needs.

Michael Kleiser

Michael Kleiser

Partner
Tel. +49 89 235 135 - 707

Electronics & Automotive

The electronics industry generates more innovations around the globe than almost any other sector. As one of the most important drivers for markets of the future, it is of vital importance to virtually all areas of society.

The electronics industry can (and must) supply crucial solutions to key 21st-century challenges in fields such as automotive electronics (e-mobility, automated driving, ever more complex driver assistance systems) and industrial electronics (Industry 4.0), as well as in the course of the energy revolution, where smart grids (intelligent electricity grids) will be required to network communications between power generation, storage and consumption.

The vital role played by electrical engineering becomes even more evident when viewed from a global perspective: the growing world population, ever scarcer resources and the consequences of climate change are just some of the issues that highlight the need for new technologies. The electronics industry can make a decisive contribution to the all-electric society with solutions such as resource-conserving technologies, smart homes and smart cities.

As a driver for innovation and growth, electrical engineering will not only have a key economic role to play, but will also have a big say in shaping trends such as the Internet of Things and implementing pioneering technologies (intelligent machines, smart factories, secure IT infrastructure) for manufacturing industry as a whole in an ever more intensive interdisciplinary exchange between fields such as electronics, IT and automation.

Germany is now a world innovation leader in important key and cross-sectional technologies. That said, small and medium-sized enterprises operate in a globally highly competitive, transient market with extremely short product cycles.

In order to prosper in this competitive environment, companies are above all looking to deliver high product quality, increasingly strong customer orientation, and continuous product developments and process optimizations alike. Their goal is to maintain and develop the strengths of the German electronics industry – its high pace of innovation, as well as its adaptability and willingness to change.

An inevitable consequence of this, however, is a continuous increase in the demands made of both employees and management. Company management and employees expect the pace of change and competitive pressure to intensify still further.

One of the central challenges to be faced by companies looking to ensure global competitiveness in the longer term is the recruitment of outstanding specialists and executives. This is all the more vital since two-thirds of SMEs cite problems in finding sufficiently qualified staff.

Liebe • Sutor • Gawlowski supports you in approaching and placing these personalities.

The Electronics team advises companies on filling vacant managerial positions at levels 1 to 3, as well as strategically significant specialist positions and staff department vacancies.

The focus is on technical and commercial management tasks, divisional and departmental management. Our clients include well-known German small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as owner-managed businesses.

Jörg Schwitalla

Jörg Schwitalla

Senior Partner
Tel. +49 89 235 135-704

Organizational Leadership

Organisational Leadership - promoting people and further developing organisations

Our world is becoming increasingly complex. Among the main drivers of this development are digitization, convergence and disruption. But it also opens up new opportunities and chances. 

How can we successfully continue to do business while at the same time introducing the right level of innovation? But above all: to win people over to necessary changes? The answer to this question is Organisational Leadership. 

This is far more than filling top positions. It is about identifying and promoting the creative potential in companies, individual organisations and teams, and thus each individual. This is how innovation culture, willingness to change and inventiveness unfold.

Finding solutions together

Our clients are confronted with a variety of challenges. Liebe - Sutor - Gawlowski has comprehensive expertise to develop tailor-made solutions together with you. We act as a reliable partner, open, honest and respectful. In particular, we support you in the following topics and areas:

  • Professionalization of HR teams (people, organization, methods)
  • Executive Assessment 
  • From mediocrity to high performance (in management and in teams)
  • Leadership Development & Coaching
  • Successful integration of personalities
  • Recruitment and assessment of committee functions

In the future, Jörg Schwitalla will support us with his practical experience and 15 years of leadership competence as a board member and managing director in well-known companies.

Professionalization of HR teams (people, organization, methods)

Transparency, feedback and consistency are the drivers of a new, modern understanding of leadership. At the same time, curiosity, passion, internationality and personal flexibility are among the central demands placed on employees in the new world of work. Developing these skills is a challenge that we face together with our clients.

New HR strategies must be designed and effective HR instruments created. Everything from the client's perspective, everything end-to-end thought and implemented. The goal: to develop people and the entire organization to mutual benefit.

Our HR strategies translate the company's requirements into the appropriate hierarchical levels. Jörg Schwitalla focuses on identifying and developing the necessary competencies. The same applies to the individual personal development of top executives within the HR department.

Executive Assessment 

We analyze whether a manager has the potential for more responsible, more complex tasks not only rationally, but also with a healthy portion of gut feeling. Our approach goes far beyond the evaluation of previous achievements. It also includes competencies and skills, personality traits and behavioural patterns. In this way, we help our clients to understand the strengths of their leaders as precisely as the areas where they still need support. 

From mediocrity to high performance (in management and in teams)

The formation of powerful teams is one of the central and at the same time most difficult tasks of a manager. It is about potentials and competencies that should complement each other optimally if possible. But trust and the right chemistry between the team members are just as important. 

We therefore take exactly the time it takes to get your managers and teams safely to their destination. Since each team is both a unit and a sum of individuals, we work with the team as a whole as well as with individual members. In this way, we understand the development steps and needs of each team member precisely - and can help to develop their potential as part of the whole in the best possible way. 

Leadership Development & Coaching

In an age of uncertainty, growing complexity and digitalization, the demands placed on managers are constantly increasing. The decisive factor is how quickly personal skills can be adapted to new challenges. 

We at Liebe - Sutor - Gawlowski are convinced that the key to this lies in the holistic development of an executive. Only those who promote their emotional and human facets as well as their strategic and operative competencies can master the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Successful integration of personalities

The appointment of a new manager to a management position marks a real milestone both for the manager himself and for the organization. While the change of leadership is usually accompanied by a lot of empathy, there is one unknown person in this equation who deserves at least as much attention: It must be ensured that the manager can actually be successful in his new task. Our consulting puts the executive in a position to achieve the best possible degree of efficiency right from the start. 

We help managers better understand the company's culture, adapt to the stakeholders they will be working with, and manage the expectations that the board of directors, supervisory board, or other supervisors will confront them with. This also applies to integration into family businesses, where we sensitively accompany the cooperation between owners and managing directors. Together, we reflect on possible learning areas for the new task as well as necessary development measures. 

Recruitment and assessment of committee functions

The continuing debate on appropriate standards for good corporate governance makes it clear that supervisory boards, boards of directors and advisory councils are becoming increasingly important for credible and successful corporate policies. In German-speaking countries, too, committees are increasingly developing into entrepreneurial bodies that have a decisive influence on sustainable value creation. 

In this environment, Liebe - Sutor - Gawlowski has established itself as a professional and authentic advisor. We help our clients in the search for outstanding personalities for their supervisory boards, boards of directors and advisory boards. We also evaluate existing supervisory bodies and their members. The supervisory board members and advisory boards gained with our support have the necessary competencies, independence and ethical stability. They therefore have the qualities that give companies a sustainable advantage in global competition. We can look back on many years of international board experience. 

Bence Balogh

Bence Balogh

Senior Consultant & General Manager of LSG-CEE Kft.

Automotive Eastern Europe

The automotive industry – OEMs and suppliers alike – constitutes a major pillar of the dynamic economic development of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) markets. Whether Volkswagen, PSA or Kia in Slovakia, Audi, Daimler-Mercedes or GM-Opel in Hungary, Škoda in the Czech Republic or Fiat in Poland, the shift of premium manufacturing facilities is continuing unabated, forcing supplier companies to create value-added from the CEE locations as well as more established sites. The locations of OEMs and suppliers who have established themselves in the CEE region, having made a commitment to “follow the customer”, are benefiting from the strategic challenges resulting from the pressure on Western European parent companies to modernise and adapt.

Car manufacturers and suppliers alike find themselves confronted with declining revenues and dwindling competitiveness. This has led to increasing pressure to consolidate, the continuous need to generate value-added, and rising logistics costs. The Visegrad countries (Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) in particular are deriving benefit from this situation. Located within easy reach of the decision-makers, headquarters and parent companies in the West, these countries enjoy relatively low labour costs and associated outlay, despite a moderate increase in wages, as well as legal certainty and regional socio-political stability within the scope of EU and (in the case of Slovakia) single currency membership. They also boast a good standard of education and have skilled workers, a modern infrastructure and calculable logistics costs – locational benefits which increasing numbers of automotive customers are exploiting to their advantage.

If, prior to the global financial crisis of 2008, investment in the CEE markets was predominantly linked to production outsourcing and labour-intensive processes, the focus has now increasingly shifted to the expansion of existing commitments with a view to providing value-added, development and design from the local markets.

This is based on the capacity to develop, expand and manage new and existing business models, as well as to shape creative potential and adequate resources in line with entrepreneurial demands. The radical market shake-up requires an ability to look beyond the familiar confines of the industry.

A balance must be struck between long-term strategic measures and short-term steps designed to secure the existence of the company, in order to enable future challenges to be tackled proactively. Every automotive company operating in the CEE must take a critical look at its own role amid these changing market conditions. This change management process with which entrepreneurs have to contend at their CEE locations is also manifested in the need for a modern management culture among local decision-makers. These changes in the strategic environment demand above all from managers, but also from supervisory bodies, a foundation that does justice to market conditions. Key competencies are increasingly manifested in change management skills. Personalities who develop and implement innovative strategies that guarantee sustainable international networking will become an ever stronger difference criterion.

Dr. Ulrich Langanke

Dr. Ulrich Langanke

Chairman of the Board of Directors LSG & Langanke AG Managing Partner LSG-CEE Kft.
Tel. +41791530091

Industry Switzerland & Automotive CEE

The automotive industry – OEMs and suppliers alike – constitutes a major pillar of the dynamic economic development of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) markets. Whether Volkswagen, PSA or Kia in Slovakia, Audi, Daimler-Mercedes or GM-Opel in Hungary, Škoda in the Czech Republic or Fiat in Poland, the shift of premium manufacturing facilities is continuing unabated, forcing supplier companies to create value-added from the CEE locations as well as more established sites. The locations of OEMs and suppliers who have established themselves in the CEE region, having made a commitment to “follow the customer”, are benefiting from the strategic challenges resulting from the pressure on Western European parent companies to modernise and adapt.

Car manufacturers and suppliers alike find themselves confronted with declining revenues and dwindling competitiveness. This has led to increasing pressure to consolidate, the continuous need to generate value-added, and rising logistics costs. The Visegrad countries (Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) in particular are deriving benefit from this situation. Located within easy reach of the decision-makers, headquarters and parent companies in the West, these countries enjoy relatively low labour costs and associated outlay, despite a moderate increase in wages, as well as legal certainty and regional socio-political stability within the scope of EU and (in the case of Slovakia) single currency membership. They also boast a good standard of education and have skilled workers, a modern infrastructure and calculable logistics costs – locational benefits which increasing numbers of automotive customers are exploiting to their advantage.

If, prior to the global financial crisis of 2008, investment in the CEE markets was predominantly linked to production outsourcing and labour-intensive processes, the focus has now increasingly shifted to the expansion of existing commitments with a view to providing value-added, development and design from the local markets.

This is based on the capacity to develop, expand and manage new and existing business models, as well as to shape creative potential and adequate resources in line with entrepreneurial demands. The radical market shake-up requires an ability to look beyond the familiar confines of the industry.

A balance must be struck between long-term strategic measures and short-term steps designed to secure the existence of the company, in order to enable future challenges to be tackled proactively. Every automotive company operating in the CEE must take a critical look at its own role amid these changing market conditions. This change management process with which entrepreneurs have to contend at their CEE locations is also manifested in the need for a modern management culture among local decision-makers. Such changes in the strategic environment require that managers in particular, but also supervisory boards, maintain a basis that is in keeping with prevailing market conditions. Key skills are increasingly manifested in change-management abilities. Personalities who are are capable of developing and implementing innovative strategies and can guarantee sustained international networking will increasingly make the crucial difference.