NEWS30 June 2011

GfK realigns sector structure and management for new strategy


GERMANY— GfK is to introduce a new sector structure bringing together most of its retail, media and technology research into one group, with custom and ad hoc work in a second.

As of January next year the company will be organised into two sectors: ‘Consumer Choices’ and ‘Consumer Experiences’. The first will incorporate most of the continuous and syndicated work from its existing media and retail and technology sectors, while the second will include its existing custom research division, as well as ad hoc media research.

The two sectors will deploy new global and regional teams, the agency said, and it will be putting the necessary “teams and processes” in place in the remaining months of this year.

The changes come as part of a new strategy called ‘Own the future’, which the agency has devised after conducting an analysis of its services during the past few months. GfK aims to grow 2% faster than the market in the four-year period 2012-2015, with a revenue target of €2bn and an operating margin target of 16%.

The plan is being introduced as the agency’s CEO, Klaus Wübbenhorst, prepares to leave the firm at the end of July 2012. Board member Petra Heinlein, who has been with GfK for 26 years, has also announced her departure at the end of this year to pursue a new career in politics.

Wübbenhorst said: “We find ourselves in a very strong position, but from time to time it is necessary to take stock and assess the situation in order to be open to the new and unknown, and when appropriate, reinvent ourselves… The new strategic direction is a vital evolution. It is the logical development and culmination of the initiatives we have undertaken that have led to GfK’s success.”

GfK said it had made an “excellent” start to the current financial year, with orders as a proporation of expected annual sales ahead of where they were at this time last year.