Well-known figures depart in Heidelberg restructure

Restructuring at Heidelberg UK will result in a big change at its digital printing wing, with two key team members set to depart.

Heidelberg UK: restructure should be finalised by mid-July
Heidelberg UK: restructure should be finalised by mid-July

Printweek has learned that the role of digital printing equipment business manager Chris Matthews has been made redundant, while digital print specialist Cliff Coghlan has opted to take an early retirement package.

Matthews was originally involved on the Kodak side of the Heidelberg and Kodak Nexpress joint venture back in 2000. Kodak subsequently took sole ownership of the venture in 2004.

After a spell at Xeikon’s then-owner Punch Graphix Matthews joined Heidelberg UK in January 2011 to helm its new digital business, after the press giant re-entered the digital press market through a new tie-up with Ricoh.

Coghlan (pictured below right with Matthews at an Open House event) joined Heidelberg in spring 2011. The duo had previously worked together at Kodak.

Heidelberg UK managing director Ryan Miles declined to comment on the specifics of individual team members while the restructure was still ongoing, but said the firm was still “fully committed to digital”.

“We will definitely have a continuity plan so it doesn’t affect our commitment to the relationship with Ricoh or the Versafire, or the digital developments coming down the line that we’re all quite excited about,” he said.

“There is no indication of a change in our strategy, it’s maybe a change in personnel. We are fully committed to digital and we actually have large targets to meet there,” he added.

“During these processes it’s really tough for an organisation, but we do have really good and competent resources to step in and develop, and that creates growth for other people.”

Miles said Heidelberg had already made some changes to the way its digital business was handled as part of the overall revamp across the group.

Until three-and-a-half months ago the manufacturer also had a partnership with Fujifilm for its Primefire 106 B1 sheetfed inkjet press, but the product was canned along with its VLF presses in a bid to save money on loss-making product lines. 

“We already have a lot of the functions of the digital part of our business happening in our entity anyway. We have a lot going on in terms of our billing engine, our service situation and in terms of customer continuity. That’s all handled within the organisation already,” Miles added.

The UK restructure is expected to be completed by the middle of July.

Printweek has also learned that the role of Jacob Hededam Hummel, head of software sales and service for Northern Europe, is among the high-profile jobs that are going as part of the overall worldwide headcount reduction of some 1,600 positions at the group.

Separately, Heidelberg’s HQ has reached agreement with trade union IG Metall to restructure the pension schemes that apply to its German companies.

The agreed “uniform dynamization” of the schemes will reduce administration costs and make pensions more predictable for “employees, pensioners and the company”.

The move will also boost EBITDA by around €65m (£58.7m) in Q1, Heidelberg said.


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