Kurtz Ersa Magazine

Kurtz Ersa-CEO

Handover of the baton at Kurtz Ersa

CEO Rainer Kurtz moves to Advisory Board, Ralph Knecht becomes new CEO, Michael Fischer follows as new Managing Director

After 40 years with the Kurtz Ersa Group, Rainer Kurtz is stepping down as CEO at the turn of the year. At the end of March 2022, he will move to the Advisory Board and continue to work for the company as a consultant.

Rainer Kurtz studied mechanical engineering (specializing in machine tools and production technology) at the Technical University of Berlin (1974 to 1979). After an initial period at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, Dipl.-Ing. Rainer Kurtz joined the company as Managing Director in 1982. This marked the transfer of operational management from Otto Kurtz (5th generation) to his sons Walter, Bernhard and Rainer. In 2003, an advisory board was installed and Rainer Kurtz was appointed Chairman of the Management Board. In addition, in 1993 he took over the sole management of Ersa GmbH, which was purchased in the same year.

In the 40 years of his work, Rainer Kurtz attached great importance to strategic orientation. The company underwent major changes in recent years and today, with its three business segments, is the world market leader with an export share of over 80 percent. There was a targeted expansion in the direction of information technology and digital transformation. The success of new product segments such as automation or metallic 3D printing are particularly close to Rainer Kurtz´s heart.

Newly positioned - the Global Board of Kurtz Ersa (from left to right): Albrecht Beck, President and COO Kurtz Ersa, Inc., Uwe Rothaug, Managing Director Kurtz GmbH, Michael Fischer, Managing Director Ersa GmbH, Michael Wenzel, Managing Director Kurtz Ers
Newly positioned - the Global Board of Kurtz Ersa (from left to right): Albrecht Beck, President and COO Kurtz Ersa, Inc., Uwe Rothaug, Managing Director Kurtz GmbH, Michael Fischer, Managing Director Ersa GmbH, Michael Wenzel, Managing Director Kurtz Ersa Automation GmbH, Ralph Knecht, former Managing Director Ersa GmbH and future Kurtz Ersa CEO, Rainer Kurtz (still CEO), Bernd Schenker, President & COO Kurtz Ersa Asia and Thomas Mühleck, CFO
Ralph Knecht
Ralph Knecht

Ralph Knecht becomes new Kurtz Ersa CEO

As of January 01, 2022, Rainer Kurtz will hand over his responsibilities to future CEO Ralph Knecht, who earned his Dipl.-Ing. (FH) at Reutlingen University (1990–95) and additionally earned an Executive MBA at the University of St. Gallen in 2016. Previously, Ralph Knecht spent 22 years in various management positions at Schlafhorst, the international market leader for spinning and textile machines. Born in Swabia, he has significantly advanced the electronics division as Ersa CEO since 01.10.2017 and has also been Managing Director of the Kurtz Ersa Group for some time. Ersa GmbH was able to further expand its leading market position as a manufacturer of soldering machines and tools and further develop important trends in the electronics industry such as 5G communication or e-mobility. Under his aegis, a new organizational structure and active talent management have put Ersa´s management responsibilities on a broader footing.


“After four decades in the Group, the time has come for the baton to be handed over – in Ralph Knecht we have an extremely capable manager and excellent leader who has sustainably expanded the Ersa business. I would like to thank him not only on behalf of the management and the workforce, but also on a very personal level. Dear Ralph, I am convinced that the position of CEO is in the best hands with you. And I also wish the new Ersa CEO Dr. Michael Fischer every success – with the Ersa team behind you, you will continue to drive the electronics manufacturing business forward well,” said Rainer Kurtz.

Michael Fischer
Michael Fischer

Michael Fischer new Ersa Managing Director

Dr. Michael Fischer has already taken over the vacant position of Ersa Managing Director as of October 01, 2021. Dr. Fischer most recently worked at power tool manufacturer Fein in Schwäbisch Gmünd, where he was responsible for all technical and administrative departments of the group as co-CEO. Born in the Rhineland, Dr. Fischer brings many years of experience in the capital goods industry and in particular in process technology, fluid mechanics, plant engineering and software. The 53-year-old studied aerospace engineering at the Technical University of Munich, where he also completed his doctorate in plant engineering. Dr. Fischer has also joined the Management Board of the holding company and, from this position, will also coordinate the global coordination of the Electronics Production Equipment product area in the Group from January 01, 2022.


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