Lara Kufferath appointed CEO of GKD Group

GKD Group has announced that Lara Kufferath will be assuming the position CEO on 1 Jul 2024. With the change, the fourth generation of the Kufferath family will be taking over the reins of the GKD Group as Lara Kufferath will run the family business with great ambitions to build on the transformation course currently being pursued by the company for solutions produced from metal and synthetic mesh.

Lara Kufferath GKD Group
Lara Kufferath / GKD Gebr. Kufferath AG Düren

Lara Kufferath will succeed her father, Dr Stephan Kufferath, and her uncle, Ingo Kufferath, who have been in charge of the company since 1983. From July, she will be the first CEO in GKD Group history to run the company in a hybrid executive model together with Chief Technical & Operations Officer (CTOO), Dr Daniel Holstein, and CFO, Ilonka von Bodman.

“I am really looking forward to continuing the great work my family has done for the company over the years and to steering the GKD Group toward a sustainable and strong future. As an owner-run family business, it has always been our aspiration to act with foresight. We wish to make our own contribution to making our world healthier, cleaner, and safer with innovative products and responsible corporate action,” said Lara Kufferath.

Lara Kufferath has been a member of the management Board since 2021, most recently holding responsibility for the company’s digital transformation and innovation processes. Under her leadership, the GKD Group will continue to focus keenly on the topics of digitalisation, internationalisation, and sustainability. At the same time, Lara Kufferath has her sights set on doubling the group’s global sales revenues by 2027.

According to GKD Group, Lara Kufferath has been closely linked to the family company and the wire weaving operations since early childhood. However, it was only after beginning her career outside the company that she truly realised her desire to help develop the company and assume responsibility.

Lara Kufferath completed her master’s degree at the European Business School in Oestrich Winkel and was then able to gain overseas experience during placements in Copenhagen and New York. Her first job was working for AGCO, an agricultural equipment group. After this, she spent several years working for Swiss corporate consultancy Helbing Business Advisors. In 2019, she then came home to join the family company as head of Corporate Development.

With Lara Kufferath assuming her new position, the change of generations on the management board at GKD is now complete. The new Management Board team also includes Ilonka von Bodman aged 51, and Dr Daniel Holstein aged 55.

Boasting extensive international management experience, Ilonka von Bodmann took up her position as CFO in Düren, Germany in March of this year. Prior to her appointment, Dr Daniel Holstein, who had previously worked for both Thyssenkrupp and Hörmann Automotive, was assigned the executive mandate for Technology & Production as CTOO.

GKD Group management board
The management board of the GKD Group from 1 Jul 2024 onward. From left: Ilonka von Bodman, Lara Kufferath, and Dr Daniel Holstein (Image: GKD Group)

The family business, which will be celebrating its centenary in 2025, therefore ranks among the very few companies in Germany with a predominantly female management board.

“I obviously wish Lara lots of luck and every success. I also feel certain that the future of our company is in safe hands with her. She has the full support of the family, and we will also remain at her side in future on the supervisory board,” said Dr Stephan Kufferath.

Dr Stephan Kufferath, who has been managing the GKD Group jointly with his brother Ingo since the 1980s, will be making the switch to the supervisory board in July. According to GKD Group, Stephan and Ingo Kufferath have transformed a small, regional industrial enterprise in the North Rhine-Westphalia town of Düren into a company with international operations and facilities in Germany, the US, Chile, South Africa, India, and China.

Under their leadership, GKD became a global market leader in numerous application fields for filters and technical weave. They also helped establish metal fabric as a new design material in the field of architecture back in the 1990s.