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Meyer Reorganizes Management Seeking Diversification Beyond Cruise Ships

Meyer Werft shipbuilder
Meyer Werft's building hall was expanded to assemble two large cruise ships a year (Meyer Werft)

Published Aug 25, 2023 5:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

Meyer Group, which operates shipyards in Papenburg, Germany and Turku, Finland, announced a management reorganization as the company looks to rebuild and diversify its business in the wake of the pandemic. The group said in order to account for the growing complexities of the present business environment, it will restructure its core leadership team, including bringing a non-family member to lead the company.

Starting in the late 1980s, the company had evolved its business becoming one of the recognized leaders in cruise ship construction. Concentrating on the booming market, the company which for many years has been a specialized shipbuilder expanded its capacity to deliver two large cruise ships a year from Papenburg as well as a smaller ship from its older building hall. They also revitalized the operation in Turku to build large cruise ships and were moving to further expand its capacity before the pandemic. They also added Neptun Werft which is now building the engine room and other blocks for assembly at the other yards.

While the company was successful in maintaining all the orders it had at the start of 2020, it has only added a single smaller new cruise ship order, coming from Japan’s NYK Group, in the past three years. Papenburg has continued to deliver cruise ships primarily to Carnival Corporation and Disney Cruise Line but faces a dwindling orderbook with the delivery of Carnival Jubilee set for this year, two more large cruise ships for Disney, and smaller ships for Silver Sea Cruises and NYK. In Finland, they are currently building the first of three of the world’s largest cruise ships for Royal Caribbean and have a single order underway for TUI Group.

The company notes that it has had to reinvent itself to adapt to fundamental changes in the business environment, and it looks to do that again. They have already announced efforts to diversify the business into new related sectors. Family patriarch Bernard Meyer recently marked his 75th birthday. Sons Jan Meyer and Tim Meyer have been increasing their roles in the company.  The last management reorganization came in mid-2020 when the sons switched positions with Tim Meyer taking over as CEO of the yard in Turki and Jan Meyer moving from the leadership at Turku to become Managing Director of Meyer Werft, Germany. Thomas Weigend has been Managing Director for the yards in Papenburg and now Wismar, where the company is managing the completion of the former Global Dream as a cruise ship for Disney.

 

Meyer Werft Managing Directors in 2020 (from left to right): Thomas Weigend, Dr. Jan Meyer, Bernard Meyer, and Tim Meyer

 

As part of the initiative, Bernd Eikens will join the Meyer Group executive team as Group CEO. Eikens worked in different management positions at UPM-Kymmene, a Finnish forestry company, for 25 years, and since 2013 as a member of the group executive team. His experience includes operations in both Finland and Germany as well as in the U.S. and South America. He has also been a member of the Meyer Turku advisory board since 2019, noting that he has become familiar with the operation and the shipbuilding business over the past four years.

“Bernd Eikens is a perfect fit for our Meyer Group combining international leadership experience with a strong background in operations and project management,” said Bernard Meyer “Additionally, it is a great benefit that he has management experience in both Germany and Finland.”

Meyer family members will be transitioning in their roles along with the formation of a Meyer Group Executive Board. Tim Meyer, who will continue as CEO of Meyer Turku, will also become the representative for the family speaking with customers and stakeholders. Jan Meyer will move to oversee new business development centering around Neptun Werft shipyard and including the new offshore wind business as well as overseeing technology development as the Chief Business Innovation Officer.
Thomas Weigend will be named Chief Sales Officer and will lead efforts with customer and cross-yard capacity planning. He will also further develop new business opportunities for Meyer Floating Solutions and Meyer RE. 

After 50 years in company operations, Bernard Meyer be a member of the Advisory Board and will concentrate on non-operational topics.