Stefan Heidenreich's turnaround plan for Beiersdorf hasn't gotten old with the board of directors, which extended its chief executive's contract after his turnaround strategy led the group to its highest level of underlying sales growth in five years.
“Beiersdorf is extremely pleased that Mr. Heidenreich will continue to drive forward and shape our successful renewal process together with all of our managers and employees. His work to date has earned our greatest respect and has benefited consumers, customers and the company,” said Prof. Dr. Reinhard Pöllath, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG.
Heidenreich (51) has been a Member of the Executive Board since January 1, 2012. He took over as CEO in April 2012. His contract was extended to the end of 2019.
Beiersdorf, which also makes La Prairie luxury face creams and Labello lip balms, reported 2013 sales of 6.14 billion euros ($8.4 billion), a 7.2% jump and its fastest growth since 2008.
Nearly two years ago, Beiersdorf was losing market share to rivals like L'Oreal and profit margins were falling. Under his leadership Beiersdorf introduced a new Nivea logo, focused on emerging markets, stripped out underperforming lines, and regained market share.
The company's 2013 sales growth was boosted by a surprisingly good performance in western Europe. Globally its consumer division, which accounts for 83% of turnover, saw sales rise 7% to 5.1 billion euros.
Beiersdorf also confirmed a forecast for its 2013 EBIT margin—earnings before interest and tax as a percentage of sales—to reach 13%, up from 12.2% in 2012.
"The major take away from strong Q4 sales is that Beiersdorf continues to outgrow major peers in cosmetics," Commerzbank analyst Andreas Riemann wrote in a note.
The stock has long been underpinned by speculation that Beiersdorf could be a takeover target for a bigger company like Procter & Gamble—but according to Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood the contract extension suggests the Herz family, which controls just over 50% of the group, may hold on to the company for years.