Vestas targets costs with COO appointment

DENMARK: Vestas has appointed former Michelin director Jean-Marc Lechene as the company's new chief operating officer.

Vestas has been hit with high R&D costs for products such as its V164 turbine
Vestas has been hit with high R&D costs for products such as its V164 turbine

In a statement, Vestas said Lechene would be tasked with monitoring costs on new technologies developed by its R&D division.

Recently, Vestas has been hit by high R&D costs on both the V164 7MW and V112 3MW turbines. The company has also had issues implementing a new production facility in Germany for its Gridstreamer, which led to a number of high level departures including of Vestas Technology chief Finn Madsen.

At the launch of the V164 in March 2011, Vestas president Ditlev Engel boasted the V164 "represented the biggest research and development investment Vestas has made".

Speaking about Lechene's appointment, Engel said he would be vital bringing down costs and making Vestas' products more profitable.

In appointing Lechene, Vestas highlighted his background in reducing production costs. Vestas chairman Bert Nordberg said: "It is crucial for Vestas that our operation is lean and effective, making sure our production setup is as cost effective as possible while not compromising the quality of our products and the safety for our employees.

"Jean-Marc Lechene brings in a strong background of this to Vestas, with a proven track record of results from his previous positions."

Lechene is one of a number of recent high-level appointments of former automotive executives to senior positions within the wind industry.

In May, Gamesa replaced CEO Jorge Calvet with Ignacio Martín from CIE Automotive where he was executive vice president.

Last year, Siemens appointed Felix Ferlemann, who was head of the chassis systems division of Benteler Automotive, as chief executive of Siemens Wind Power.

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