Press releases

Wascosa creates new structures for future growth
Since 2014 Wascosa has been successfully positioning itself as Europe’s leading provider of freight wagon systems. Its goal is to improve the efficiency of rail transport, increase the productivity of freight wagons and reduce rail logistics costs. Since then, the new positioning has been a key driver of Wascosa’s business development and a dynamic growth engine. Following the successful acquisition recently of 4,400 freight wagons from NACCO/CIT, the point has come to simplify Wascosa’s management structure and at the same time strengthen it with new members.

Under the leadership of Chairman of the Board Philipp Müller and CEO Peter Balzer, Wascosa has been continuously building on its positioning and strategy since 2014 and has been undergoing a sweeping process of change and renewal.

Wascosa trims and revamps its management team

Wascosa decided it was time to simplify its management structure and at the same time strengthen it with new members. As of 1 January 2019, the organisation will be trimmed from seven to five divisions and will then have the following members: Peter Balzer (CEO; existing member), Yann Bonguardo (CSO, Chief Sales Officer; new member), Stephan Kellmann (CFO, Chief Finance Officer; new member), Irmhild Saabel (CBDO, Chief Business Development Officer; existing member) and Markus Vaerst (COO, Chief Operations Officer responsible for Maintenance, Technical Dept., Purchasing; new member).

Philipp Müller, Wascosa’s Chairman of the Board: “By restructuring the organisation and recruiting new specialists to strengthen our management team, we have created the necessary conditions to ensure we can deliver innovative and top-quality services to customers and respond flexibly to changing market requirements.”

The management’s extended circle will also include Fabian Stadler (previously CFO), who after 10 successful years as CFO is taking on the newly created role of Chief Business Excellence Officer (CBEO), and Kirsten Trost (CIO, Chief Investment Officer; new member), who will head up Investor Relations as of 1 July 2019. In addition, Thomas von Berlepsch, branch manager of Wascosa’s new Hamburg subsidiary, will report directly to CEO Peter Balzer. Wascosa also took over responsibility for Nacco’s Hamburg operations in October 2018 and the subsidiary has been renamed Wascosa GmbH.

Existing members of the management team Thomas Lippuner (CSO), Markus Basler (CCO), Detlef Schlickelmann (CTO) and Daniel Schmid (COO) have decided to leave the company in 2019 to pursue new career opportunities. Peter Balzer and Philipp Müller would like to thank them for their excellent work and high level of commitment.

Wascosa’s management team at a glance (as of 1 January 2019)

Peter Balzer (CEO; existing member)

Peter Balzer

Peter Balzer has been CEO of Wascosa since 2014. From his previous career he brings decades of experience in corporate management, logistics and project management, having already acted as external consultant to Wascosa on a variety of topics for 10 years before joining the company.

Yann Bonguardo (CSO, Chief Sales Officer; new member)

Yann Bonguardo

Yann Bonguardo spent 23 years with Nacco in Paris, initially as Chief Technical Officer and then Head of Sales for the whole of Europe for 17 years. He can therefore draw on many years of experience in the European freight wagon industry and in-depth knowledge of all the relevant wagon types, especially the newly acquired Nacco fleet. Yann Bonguardo speaks fluent German, French and English and is highly valued as an experienced and reliable business partner.

Stephan Kellmann (CFO, Chief Finance Officer; new member)

Stephan Kellmann

Stephan Kellmann was CFO at Von Roll, a Swiss producer of insulation products, from 2010 to 2017. Before that, Stephan Kellmann worked at Mövenpick initially as Head of Group Controlling and Accounting and then as CFO from 2007 onwards. Prior to that, Stephan Kellmann was Head of Reporting at MBT Bauchemie and and worked two years for the parent company Degussa.

Irmhild Saabel (CBDO, Chief Business Development Officer; existing member)

Irmhild Saabel

Irmhild Saabel has been Wascosa’s CBDO since 2013, having previously been Chief Technical Officer from 2005 to 2012. Irmhild Saabel has enormous expertise in European rail freight transport, having also held various management roles at DB Cargo, among others, as well as positions in various industry federations.

Markus Vaerst (COO, Chief Operations Officer responsible for Maintenance, Technical Dept. and Purchasing; new member)

Markus Vaerst

Markus Vaerst  has nearly 30 years of experience in the European rail freight transport business, most of which has been in senior management positions such as COO and CTO at the wagon leasing company AAE Ahaus Alstätter Eisenbahn. Since 2013, he has successfully managed his own company Railmind GmbH as a consultant to national and international associations and companies, in particular in the areas of security, interoperability, regulatory matters and the further development of the GCU

For further information, media professionals should contact:
Gabriele Wagner, Head of Marketing & Communication
Wascosa AG, Werftestrasse 4, 6005 Lucerne, Switzerland
Tel: +41 41 727 67 41