Earlier this year, Deutsche Post DHL CEO Frank Appel vigorously defended the performance of its troubled Global Forwarding, Freight, division amid rumors that it might be sold at a fire-sale price. Today, Appel’s defense was solidified yet again with the announcement that Tim Scharwath, former global head of air logistics at Kuehne + Nagel (K+N), would take over as CEO of DHL Global Forwarding (DHL-GF).
According to Deutsch Post DHL, Scharwath will step into the role “within the next 12 months.” Until that time, the responsibilities of division CEO will remain with Appel, who took over the interim CEO spot after Roger Crook stepped down in April 2015.
Scharwath, who had announced that he was leaving K+N just last week,was named one of three “Executives to Watch” by Air Cargo World in December 2014 for his leadership in a year that saw a rebound in airfreight for K+N.
He will take over a forwarding arm that has been on a roller-coaster in recent months. After DHL halted the rollout of the DHL-GF’s comprehensive “New Forwarding Environment” IT system in April 2015 due to performance problems, the parent company decided to scrap the entire system, talking a loss of about €345 million on Q3 2015. The announcement later sparked rumors that DHL might consider selling the division – rumors that Appel flatly denied.
However, as 2016 dawned, the fortunes for DHL-GF began to brighten. In its Q1 2016 results, operating income rose dramatically from €17 million in the previous Q1, to €51 million in the period ended March 31.
Still, Scharwath will have his hands full with the freight forwarding arm. Q1 revenues for the division declined by 12.2 percent, year-over-year, to €3.3 billion; adjusted for negative currency effects, the revenue figures declined by 9.3 percent. Airfreight volumes for Q1 also dropped by 8.8 percent, y-o-y, to 476,000 tonnes, representing the fourth consecutive quarter in which the forwarder experienced a y-o-y volume decline.
“We are very pleased that Tim Scharwath will become a member of the board of management, taking over responsibility for our Global Forwarding and Freight division,” Appel said in a company statement. “He comes with an impressive freight forwarding track record, and is ideally placed to continue the encouraging progress we start to see in our forwarding businesses, and which we will steadily grow over the years”
Scharwath held several management positions during his 20-year career with K+N. In his latest position, he served as executive vice president and member of the board, air logistics, group airfreight, for Kuehne + Nagel Group. Previously, Scharwath was regional president, northwest Europe and the U.K., and regional senior vice president, airfreight, and member of the regional board, central Europe and Germany for K+N.