At Danzer Veneer Europe, next generation takes charge
January 10, 2017 | 5:33 pm CST
DORNBIRN, Austria – Global hardwood specialist Danzer announces changes in its management. After 21 years with the company, Olof von Gagern (65) retires. His successor as CEO of Danzer Veneer Europe is Rudi Heinzelmann (57). Ulrich Grauert (51) will assume the role as CEO of Interholco AG.
Interholco AG is one of the leading international suppliers of African logs and lumber, managing the largest contiguous forest concession in the tropics that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): 1.16 million hectares. It operates its own production facility in the Republic of Congo with approximately 1,000 local employees.
CEO of Danzer Veneer Europe: Rudi Heinzelmann 
In the future, the Danzer and Interholco brands will operate independently from each other: Danzer will focus on hardwood from temperate forests – Interholco will sharpen its focus as a social, environmental and economic leader in tropical forest management as well as a leading producer of tropical wood. 
The management changes at Danzer had been prepared well in advance. Rudi Heinzelmann and Ulrich Grauert had been acting as COO for Danzer Veneer Europe and Interholco AG respectively already. Rudi Heinzelmann joined Danzer in 1984 and has worked in several functions including sales, procurement and product management. Ulrich Grauert joined Interholco AG in Switzerland in 1993. Born in Africa, he has spent his entire professional life in the hardwood industry. 
Interholco has been working in Africa since 1964 and owns IFO (Industrie Forestière d'Ouesso) in the Republic of Congo. This Interholco subsidiary manages the largest contiguous forest concession in the tropics (1.16 million hectares) that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). 
 “The separate management of the Interholco brand allows us to better focus our activities on the requirements of forest management and timber production in Africa”, says Ulrich Grauert. “We can better target our investments and activities, and focus on engaging stakeholders in the Congo Basin to address social, environmental and economic needs at local, regional and national level.” 
All Danzer activities focusing on hardwood from temperate forests will be eventually consolidated under the Danzer brand, including Danzer Veneer Americas, Danzer Veneer Europe, Danzer UK, Danzer Specialty Division, Bradford Forest and Interforest Lumber. Danzer has been investing in innovative new technologies in Europe and North America to increase the resource efficiency - making better use of the valuable hardwood resource, including a hardwood log scanner that allows looking inside a log before processing it can result in higher yields, and a technology to slice thick hardwood lamellas for the engineered flooring industry effectively avoiding 30-50% waste that would result from traditional sawing. Key species for this fast growing Danzer product is, in line with today’s fashion, rustic European Oak.   
“Our activities with hardwood products from temperate forests will also benefit from the two brand approach”, adds Hans-Joachim Danzer, CEO of Danzer Holding AG. “While both businesses share the same principles and values in relation to the natural hardwood resource and the conduct of business, we deal with very different products, markets, species and business drivers day to day.” 
Danzer is a leading quality hardwood company with production facilities in North America and Europe. The company has approximately 1,500 employees and services customers from 18 sales offices worldwide. Founded in 1932, the company is managed by a family member of the third generation. Danzer owns and manages forests in North America sustainably and produces sliced veneer, lumber and innovative value-added wood timber products for decorative purposes. Danzer products are being used in high-quality furniture, automobiles, interior architecture and other applications

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.