A new era begins with s.Oliver. Bernd Freier, founder and managing director of the s.Oliver Group, handed over the chairmanship of the management board to Claus-Dietrich Lahrs at the beginning of November.

It is a success story Made in Germany. In 1969 Bernd Freier founded the fashion brand s.Oliver. Within a few decades, the company has developed into one of the leading European fashion groups. Around 6,400 employees work internationally, the annual turnover is around 1.3 billion euros. Now it comes to a relay handover. At the beginning of the month, fashion manager Claus-Dietrich Lahrs took over the management of the Freier Group from Freier. Lahrs has 30 years of experience in managing global premium and luxury brands in the fashion and accessories sector. After working for Louis Vuitton in America and Christian Dior in France, he served as CEO of Hugo Boss from 2008 to 2016, pushing globalization of the brand and verticalization of the business model. Since 2016, Lahrs has led the Italian Bottega Veneta Group and managed the repositioning of the brand.

Founder son Christian Freier on the advisory board of s.Oliver

Bernd Freier is retiring from the operational management of the s.Oliver Group and will not be a member of the advisory board in the future. The Advisory Board will now be headed by Willy Oergel. Oergel brings with him many years of experience in fashion companies and digitization in the retail sector. Until 2017 he was CEO of E. Breuninger GmbH & Co. Company founder Bernd Freier on the changes: “The international fashion and accessories business is in a profound phase of upheaval. I am therefore particularly pleased that I have succeeded in gaining Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, an extremely experienced and respected personality from the international fashion industry, to lead my company. In coordination with the Advisory Board, he will set the course for growth and sustainability of the s.Oliver Group in this dynamic market environment. I wish Mr. Lahrs and the s.Oliver team every success”. Freiers son Christian will represent the family interests on the advisory board in the future.

CFO Heckelsberger leaves the company

In addition, the s.Oliver Group has further personnel changes to report. Daniel Terberger, for example, retired from the company’s advisory board. He had been a member of the Advisory Board since September 2016 to support the succession process in the family. According to the company, this process has now been completed with the transfer of management responsibility to the new CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs. In addition, Susanne Heckelsberger, Chief Financial Officer, will leave the Group at her own request at the end of the year. She joined s.Oliver in 2015 after holding various positions as a tax consultant, auditor and managing director in M-Dax companies. Heckelsberger was responsible for the entire Finance division, including Controlling, Accounting, Treasury, Tax, Legal, Compliance as well as Central Purchasing as Managing Director and CFO for the entire Group. During her time at s.Oliver, she completely reorganized the finance department, professionalized structures and processes and advanced digitalization.


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Link: The s.Oliver Group is reorganising its staff in a number of key areas.

Image: s.Oliver