Stuttgart, Dusseldorf Never before in the nearly 175-year history of Hapag-Lloyd has a woman been appointed to the Hamburg Line’s board of directors. Since the company’s founding in 1847, shipowners have preferred to keep themselves on the management floor of the palatial representative office in Ballendam. It can be speculated whether this is due to sailors’ superstitions that women (and priests) bring misfortune on board.
The tradition will end on February 1, 2022. Donya-Florence Amer – decided upon by the Supervisory Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG last Thursday – will be the CIO of the world’s fifth largest container shipping company and the first female member of the Senior Management Committee on that date.
The 49-year-old IT expert started her career in 1999 at IBM, where she held various management positions. Since 2017, she has been responsible for management at Bosch, initially as Executive Vice President, since 2020 as co-founder and CEO of Bosch Climate Solutions, a consulting firm for Stuttgart-based solutions on the topic of climate protection.
Bosch production with its 400 factories has been climate neutral since February 2020. Amer turned the experience into a business idea for the founding group. Recently, she and her team advised 20 mid-size companies, including supplier Freudenberg and sanitation specialist Hansgrohe, as clients on their way to becoming climate neutral.
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Amer did not last five years in Bush. The Swabians were well aware that they had higher ambitions. But when the chair was recently transferred in the context of the change in leadership in the upper Bush administration from Volkmar Diener to Stefan Hartung, it was not mentioned. More recently, when it emerged last June that she was being traded as the new head of digital at Deutsche Bahn, it was clear she would be leaving Bosch soon.
Confident manager with clear messages
On the track, Daniela Gerd led Tom Marcotin – perhaps too soon – from the race. In the opinion of the railroad owner, it should not be the federal government because of qualifications. With Hapag-Lloyd, Aamir is now making his second choice: ships instead of trains.
At Bosch, Amer liked to get to the heart of the matter: “Climate protection is too expensive,” she said, “there is nothing more expensive than doing it.” The self-confident manager’s saying also applies to the digitization of the German economy.
“With Donya-Florence Amer, we have been able to win a highly qualified expert in IT and digital business modeling,” Michael Berndt, Supervisory Chairman of Hapag-Lloyd, explained the decision. Amer will provide the shipping company with great support in the digitization strategy with its extensive experience.
For the new addition, a new department of the board of directors will be created at Inner Alster in Hamburg, which will be solely responsible for IT. To date, these tasks have been performed by Chief Operations Officer Maximilian Rothkopf, who has relinquished part of his previous responsibility. Increases the number of board members in the group listed on SDax to five.
Significant investment in the digitization of the shipping company
Aamir no longer has to build a whole new line of business at Hapag-Lloyd. As early as the end of 2017, CEO Rolf Habin Jansen instructed that Germany’s largest shipping company should not be concerned primarily with the consumption of marine lubricating oil and diesel, but rather with the more efficient use of bits and bytes.
Even then, the Dutch native called for his own “Digital Business Unit and Transformation,” and the company’s organization had to become more dynamic and analytical by investing heavily in digitization. Habben Jansen shifted responsibility for this not to an IT specialist, but to Ralf Belusa, a 47-year-old medical doctor.
Even after Donya-Florence Amer joins the company, Belusa will retain her position as Chief Digital Officer. The manager, who has so far mainly sought better digital interfaces with clients, continues to report directly to the CEO.
It is not clear how long this unusual constellation will remain in the management of Hapag, as it is called in the company. After all, they still have two and a half months to finish the new section.
Aamir is advised to take a closer look at this. This wouldn’t be the first time a new board position has been created for a digital director. This will not be the first time that the mixing of competencies is the beginning of the end. The former chief digital officer of Deutsche Bahn, Sabina Geschke, had to go through this bitter experience without a local powerhouse in the government company.
more: Hapag-Lloyd is the world’s most profitable container company – with a radically defined strategy