Meyer Group reorganizing management to seek diversification beyond cruise ships

   August 27, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Meyer Group, which operates prominent shipyards in Papenburg Germany, and Turku Finland, has unveiled a strategic management reorganization in response to the shifting landscape post-COVID. Recognizing the need to rebuild and diversify its business, the company is initiating changes at its core leadership level, a crucial step to navigate the complexities of the current business environment. Notably, the company is making the significant move of appointing a non-family member to the helm, signifying a departure from its traditional leadership structure.

The evolution of Meyer Group's business trajectory is noteworthy. Originating in the late 1980s, the company transitioned into a key player in the realm of cruise ship construction. Its focus on the burgeoning cruise market led to capacity expansion, enabling the delivery of two large cruise ships annually from Papenburg, alongside a smaller vessel from its older building hall.

Notably, Meyer Group revived its operations in Turku, specializing in large cruise vessels, with plans for further expansion that were impeded by the crisis. The acquisition of Neptun Werft (Rostock) bolstered their capabilities, contributing engine room construction and other crucial blocks for assembly across their yards.

Despite retaining its existing orders at the outset of 2020, the company's new order intake has been modest, with only a solitary order for a smaller cruise ship from Japan's NYK Group over the past three years. While Papenburg continues to fulfill orders primarily for Carnival Corporation and DCL-Disney Cruise Line, the order book is gradually thinning.

Deliveries include Carnival Jubilee (this year), followed by two more ships for Disney, as well as smaller vessels for Silversea and NYK Line (Japan). Finland, on the other hand, remains engaged in the construction of three of the world's largest cruise liners for RCI-Royal Caribbean, alongside a solitary order for TUI Group.

As part of its adaptive strategy, Meyer Group is poised to undergo a transformative journey, extending its reach into new related sectors. An ongoing process of family transition in roles is accompanied by the establishment of a Meyer Group Executive Board. In this context, Bernd Eikens is set to join as Group CEO, bringing with him a wealth of experience from a 25-year tenure at Finnish forestry company UPM-Kymmene, including a membership in the group executive team since 2013. Eikens' familiarity with Meyer Turku's operations, gained through his advisory board involvement since 2019, positions him to lead the Group in its new phase.

Tim Meyer, a family member, will continue as Meyer Turku's CEO, simultaneously representing the family in discussions with customers and stakeholders. Jan Meyer's responsibilities will pivot towards overseeing new business development, centered around Neptun Werft shipyard, encompassing the emerging offshore wind sector and technology innovation as the Chief Business Innovation Officer. Thomas Weigend, in his role as Chief Sales Officer, will orchestrate customer engagement and cross-yard capacity planning. Moreover, he will spearhead the exploration of fresh business prospects for Meyer Floating Solutions and Meyer RE.

After a remarkable five decades of operational involvement, Bernard Meyer will assume a role in the Advisory Board, channeling his energies into non-operational domains. The orchestrated changes underline Meyer Group's resolute commitment to strategic reinvention and revitalization, propelling the company toward a dynamic new era.