Mannheim (Germany), November 6, 2023 – RKW Group today announced that its Supervisory Board has appointed Eric Le Lay as CEO effective November 6, 2023. The Supervisory Board has been looking for a long-term successor to Peter Baumgartner for some time and is glad to announce Eric Le Lay’s appointment, who brings nearly three decades of experience in the industry. “With Eric we have found a global executive with extensive experience in our industry, mostly at Amcor and Huhtamaki. Eric has been successfully leading transformations of global businesses. His experience will be essential to continue RKW’s strategic transformation,” said Raphael Müller, RKW’s Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
As anticipated, Peter Baumgartner has decided to step down as CEO of RKW after successfully leading the company over the last two years. He will remain as an advisor to the new CEO and the shareholder family through the end of the calendar year to ensure a smooth transition.
Eric Le Lay joins RKW from Huhtamaki where he most recently served as President of the Foodservice & Fiber division and Member of the Global Executive Team overseeing 6,500 employees and €1.4bn of turnover globally. “I am very excited to join RKW, a family-owned company with a proud 65-year history and an excellent reputation in the industry. RKW is a leading plastic films manufacturer with a global footprint and international recognition, serving a broad range of markets across the globe. I look forward to leveraging my experience to help RKW serve its customers globally, enabling them to achieve superior, innovative and more sustainable solutions to meet their needs. I would like to thank Peter who has built the foundation for our future success through his transformation plan,” said Le Lay.
Peter Baumgartner said, “It has been a privilege to lead RKW as CEO for the past two years, and I am very proud of the many accomplishments achieved by the RKW team during my tenure. The Supervisory Board and I have full confidence in Eric and in his ability to take the company forward into its next phase together with the leadership team.”
“Eric has a proven track record in his career, highlighted by both customer-centric collaboration to drive growth and rigorous operational efficiency. He has extensive experience in developing global strategies,” said Phillip Müller, Member of the Supervisory Board.
Raphael Müller concluded, “On behalf of the entire Supervisory Board, I thank Peter for his leadership. His contribution over the last two years has been instrumental to set the path for RKW’s strategic transformation and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
About Eric Le Lay
Eric Le Lay has spent nearly 30 years in the packaging industry, having served 12 years at Amcor prior to joining Huhtamaki where he has worked for the last 15 years. Le Lay most recently served as President of the Foodservice & Fiber division at Huhtamaki where he was a Member of the Global Executive Team overseeing 6,500 employees and €1.4bn in turnover globally. While at Huhtamaki, he has successfully led a strategic transformation boosting top-line growth as well as profitability. At Amcor, Eric Le Lay rose from Plant Manager to Managing Director of the European Chilled Foods division.
Eric Le Lay started his career as a Production Engineer and later Business Unit Controller at Kraft General Foods, where he spent 8 years. He then served as a Plant Manager at Johnson & Johnson (where he launched their feminine hygiene products) and United Biscuits prior to joining Amcor.
He holds an Engineering degree from UTC France as well as an MBA from HEC School of Management in France.