A good 100 days ago, André Wall took over the operational management of Beyond Gravity, a leading global space supplier headquartered in Zurich. In view of the planned privatization by 2025 at the latest, the organization is being restructured and the operational business is being structured into three agile divisions: Launchers, Satellites and Lithography. "With our new organization, we want to create the best possible basis for profitable growth in the rapidly developing space market and further expand our leading position in structures for launchers, satellites and in the field of space electronics. To this end, we are establishing an agile organization tailored to our customers and products, which enables rapid decision-making and supports the digital transformation of the company – prerequisites for success under the changed conditions of the commercial market," André Wall explains this step. The previously central functions of Sales, Engineering and Operations will in future be integrated directly into the three divisions, enabling them to offer their customers best-in-class solutions and independently set the course for growth. The divisions are supported by the three lean support functions Finance, HR, and Corporate Strategy & Transformation, each of which centrally bundles key functions for the business.
Strongly growing Lithography business established as new division
Beyond Gravity has been active in the field of lithography for more than 20 years. The company manufactures special stabilizers as well as apertures that are required for the nanometer-precise exposure of wafers (semiconductor silicon substrate). The laser optics and other optical systems are used worldwide in machines that produce microchips and form the basis for numerous high-tech applications such as autonomous mobility or artificial intelligence. André Wall: "Our lithography business has become an important pillar in recent years and is a good example of how high-tech developed in the space sector can also benefit applications on Earth." In recent years, the business has grown to 120 employees as a strategic partner of the market leader for semiconductor optics.
Changes in the management of Beyond Gravity
With the new organization, the composition of Beyond Gravity's Executive Board will also change as of September 15, 2022. Paul Horstink, who as Head of RUAG International's Aerostructures site in Emmen achieved the successful turnaround of the business, will take over the management of the Launchers division with a good 650 employees (composite structures and separation systems for European, American, and Japanese launchers). Simon Hächler, who was previously Director Finance & Controlling for this business unit, will take over for him as head of the Aerostructures site in Emmen. Anders Linder (structures for satellites, control mechanisms, electronics, etc.) becomes Head of the Satellites division with around 750 employees. The newly created Lithography division will be led by Oliver Kunz, who was previously responsible for Beyond Gravity’s Engineering function. In the Support units, Finance will continue to be headed by Angelo Quabba. He will also take over Legal and IT Security. Oliver Grassmann joins the Executive Board as Head of Corporate Strategy & Transformation and will be, among others, driving key digitalization topics. Christian Ferber, who served as Chief Human Resource Officer of Beyond Gravity as well as RUAG International for 11 years, has decided to pursue a new career outside the company. "Christian has made his mark on RUAG International and I sincerely thank him for his commitment to our company over more than a decade," says André Wall. The search for a successor for the Executive Board has been initiated. Until the succession is clarified, André Wall will directly lead Human Resources ad interim from October 1, 2022. Communications & Branding, headed by Philipp Bircher, will report directly to him.
Privatization progressing according to plan
Beyond Gravity and RUAG Aerostructures are combined under the umbrella of RUAG International Holding. Together, the two divisions employ around 3,000 people in seven countries and at 13 sites. By the end of 2023, RUAG International Holding also intends to find suitable partners for the aerostructures units in Switzerland (Emmen), Germany (Oberpfaffenhofen) and Hungary (Eger). For the rebranded Space division "Beyond Gravity" (previously "RUAG Space"), a divestment is planned by the end of 2025 at the latest. Once these divestments have been completed, the current owner, the Swiss Confederation, will no longer hold any shares in RUAG International Holding. In line with its strategy, numerous business units have already been successfully divested in recent months and years – all with partners who will continue the business and have taken on the employees. For example, the Ammotec unit with 2,700 employees worldwide was sold to Beretta Holding at the end of July 2022, and the MRO International unit in Australia was successfully sold to the Australian company ASDAM at the end of August 2022.