Image default

Susanne Wiegand brings Renk back to the stock market


For over a year, Susanne Wiegand tried to take the gear manufacturer Renk public. But investors waved them away – at first. Today the CEO achieves this goal.

Antje Erhard

By Antje Erhard, ARD financial editorial team and Volker Hirth, ARD financial editorial team

Susanne Wiegand rings the heavy stock exchange bell on the Frankfurt trading floor for 15 seconds and beams into the crowd. The first price for Renk shares had just been called: 17.50 euros. An increase of 17 percent. The “Renklers,” as Wiegand calls the employees, cheer.

“Now hopefully forever”

Renk has worked towards this moment under Wiegand's leadership for more than a year. The trading floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is bathed in orange and blue, the colors of Renk. The trading floor is – as usual with large IPOs – quite full. Renk is going public for the second time, says Thomas Book, Chairman of the Board of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange – “now hopefully forever.”

Susanne Wiegand smiles relaxed into the journalists' cameras and seems to be enjoying the magnitude of the moment: “I am extremely pleased to be celebrating a very special occasion with you today,” she said in her speech. She is “totally happy,” she says later in an interview on the show Economy update on tagesschau24 say. In her speech, she initially formulated it in her usual matter-of-fact way: the IPO was not only “a historic milestone in the company’s history,” but also “an important step into the future.”

Confident in the future

The Renk boss's joy is unmistakably mixed with self-confidence, and Susanne Wiegand expresses this very clearly. “We look to the future with self-confidence and confidence.” Renk makes “a systemically relevant contribution to our security and to the preservation of our democracy and freedom.” The IPO marks the beginning of “a new chapter for Renk.” “The changing times and energy transition are giving us additional tailwind.”

Wiegand has been at the head of the Renk board for a good two years. She has been no stranger to the industry for years: Before she came to Renk, she was divisional director at tank manufacturer Rheinmetall Defense, and before that she worked at Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems: on submarine solutions.

“Alien in the industry”

In conversation with She still calls herself an “alien in the industry”. But what fascinates you about the armaments branch? “It is a combination of political work, strategic work (…) and technologies.” She has been interested in these technologies since she came into contact with them in shipbuilding over 20 years ago, although she “never studied” them.

Financial investors have their own plan: set a goal, target a company, buy this company as cheaply as possible, formulate a growth story and implement it as quickly and efficiently as possible with a mostly new management team. This is how Susanne Wiegand came to Renk. Since 2021, the business economist has been working on a growth story that comes primarily from abroad – mainly from the USA. More than 70 armies worldwide use Renk systems.

Back in the middle of society

So is armament socially acceptable again? Germany still has a way to go, says Wiegand Economy update. But: “With the attack by Hamas in Israel, in my opinion there was another jolt in Germany that we are no longer in the dirty corner.” Rather, the industry is back at the center of society and is accepted “for what we do.” Finding investors in the Anglo-Saxon region, however, was “not at all difficult”.

In conversation with She adds: It's never about attack, it's always about defense. “I am deeply convinced that there are not only lovely, good, friendly people in the world.” But she understands if investors don't want to invest in armaments: “We don't want to convert anyone.”

*Down-to-earth, direct, honest”

Susanne Wiegand says she finds talking about herself “difficult.” But opposite she reveals: “I'm terribly down-to-earth and undiplomatic and direct. People who know me would probably say, 'She may be rough in her tone sometimes, but she doesn't mean it at all, you know where you stand with her, She's always honest and straight forward. And I've done well with that throughout my life.”

She is persistent and goal-oriented, one would like to add. The fact that the first IPO failed in the fall “wasn’t nice.” And: “We had the worst day of the worst week.” But: “We just kept fighting.” Regarding the IPO today, she said on the stage under the DAX board on the stock exchange: “We have big plans.” You believe her immediately.

Related posts

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.