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A business consultancy, based in London, England, John Sacks' JSA Consultancy Services provides expert, in-depth, information advice and guidance as to how to exploit successfully the office furniture and interiors markets in Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan.

Bene AG replaces entire Executive Board

Monday 17 December 2012

There has been a change in the Executive Board of Bene AG, which is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange: With effect immediately, both members of the Executive Board at Bene AG, Frank Wiegmann and Wolfgang Neubert, have resigned from company management. At the same time, a new Executive Board was appointed in an extraordinary Supervisory Board meeting held on 15 December 2012. The new members are Rudolf Payer , aged 52 as the new CFO and as COO, Michael Feldt, who is 44.

Rudolf Payer began his career at Price Waterhouse in Vienna, then went to GiroCredit, where he built up the group accounting department and worked in investment controlling. In 1995 he transferred to Coopers & Lybrand Vienna. From 1998 until 2010 he was chief financial officer at RHI AG.

Michael Feldt is a native of Germany and a graduate in business administration, he studied in Regensburg and at the Vanderbilt University in the USA and began his career as purchaser for Apple and IBM in the USA. After working in channel marketing and as account manager, he was a member of the Board of Directors at Kaefer Isoliertechnik in Bremen and then in Paris. In the past few years Michael Feldt has specialised in portfolio management and corporate consulting in the area of restructuring and change management.

Despite a growth in sales, earnings not satisfactory: New management expected to bring about a change in direction

As already reported on 12 December 2012, although BENE AG was able to increase sales by an impressive 16.2% in the first nine months of the 2012/2013 financial year (1 February 2012 - 31 October 2012, sales Q1-Q3 2012/13: EUR 153.9 million compared to EUR 132.5 million in the comparable period of the previous year), the company was not able to achieve a satisfactory earnings situation. The EBIT was down after the first nine months of the current financial year to EUR -4.2 million (compared to EUR -2.2 million in the previous year).

Manfred Bene, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, on the current company situation:
"When sales go up compared to the previous year by 16.2% but the earnings continue to drop, something is wrong. Accordingly, the Supervisory Board has decided to make this change in management and thus in the leadership of the company without delay. However, I am confident that with BENE's enormous brand strength, sales power and innovative products, the turnaround will be possible - despite the difficult market conditions."

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