Wüsthof Group Names Schmitz CEO

Wüsthof Group named Jan-Patrick Schmitz CEO and chairman of its management board.

The appointment of Schmitz reflects the mounting strategy by the Solingen, Germany-based company to progress from knife manufacturer to a global premium consumer brand, according to an announcement to company employees by owners Viola Wüsthof and Harald Wüsthof.

“We have been working closely together for more than a year and during this time we have come to appreciate (Jan-Patrick) as a person and a manager,” the Wüsthof cousins said in the announcement.  “We share the same values, which are reflected in our strategic growth plan, Projekt 8. Together, we have further refined our vision for Wüsthof future.”

Schmitz, who studied in Germany and the United States and spent many years in Japan, currently resides in New Jersey, not far from Wüsthof’s North American headquarters in Connecticut. Schmitz worked for more than two decades for the Montblanc Group Hamburg, Germany; and he has been chairman of the advisory board of the Steiff Group, a German, family-owned consumer goods and automotive technology company. He is a board member of the German-American Chamber of Commerce in New York.

“His special skills and international expertise are valuable for our brand. He will continue to develop our corporate culture and, together with our organizations in Europe and North America, expand our presence globally,” the Wüsthofs said in the announcement. “We will focus on our role as shareholders. We will continue to be ambassadors of the brand and will represent Wusthof in public.”