Germany’s Meyer Group has appointed Bernd Eikens as chief executive of the leading shipbuilding group.

The move is part of a major managerial shake-up that sees Eikens set to join the Papenburg-headquartered group in December.

Eikens will join the shipbuilder after finishing a position in senior management with Finnish sustainability company UPM.

He will take charge of global operations as well as the shipbuilding facility and the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg.

The changes also see Bernard Meyer, who has long been synonymous with the family-run shipbuilder, taking a lower profile role.

After 50 years in company operations, the 75-year-old Meyer will concentrate on non-operational topics in the advisory board.

However, his sons will remain in senior managerial positions.

Tim Meyer who continues as CEO of the shipbuilder’s Finnish production yard Meyer Turku Oy, a position he has held since 2020.

Jan Meyer will oversee new business development centring on Neptun Werft shipyard and will oversee the yards’ move into the offshore wind business.

”This structure is a commitment of the Meyer family to further develop and diversify our company,” Jan Meyer said.

“At the same time, it takes the increasing complexity of our products and maritime excellence into account,” he added.

“For the shipbuilding operations, we will capture synergies between our yards and further enhance the cooperation between them.”

New Meyer Way

The structural reorganisation is designed to meet new challenges strengthen old and build new business opportunities, the company said.

Eikens has worked as a member of the group executive team of UPM since 2013.

His international career includes positions in the US, China, Germany and Finland.

His shipbuilding experience has been gleaned in recent years as a member of the Meyer Turku advisory board since 2019.

“The shipyards are close to my heart and I am certain that my experience can be a valuable asset for the Meyer Group and the New Meyer Way,” Eikens said.

“As part of my board work for Meyer Group, I have become familiar with the issues of shipbuilding in Europe and I trust that we will form a strong team to address the challenges of the future.”

The managerial changes mark a new phase for the shipbuilding group which has a history spanning 228 years.

Bernard Meyer described Eikens as “a perfect fit” with management experience in both Germany and Finland.

As part of the changes, Thomas Weigend, will assume responsibility for developing new business opportunities Meyer Floating Solutions and Meyer RE.