GE replaces Ritter in European operations shake-up

GERMANY: GE is to replace Stephan Ritter, its general manager for renewable energy in Europe, as part of a shake-up for the company's European operations.

Ritter has been GE general manager renewable energy Europe since 2009
Ritter has been GE general manager renewable energy Europe since 2009

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Ritter, who has been in the role since 2009, is to be replaced by Cliff Harris, an executive at GE's gas turbines division. Harris will take up the role on 1 June. Ritter is to leave GE to join engineering firm Arcadis as CEO.

Additionally, GE has hired former Kenersys Europe CEO Andreas von Bobart for the newly created post of general manager of GE's German wind business. He took up the role on 1 May.

Von Bobart will be tasked with reviving GE's performance in Germany, which is largely dominated by Enercon. Despite leading the worldwide turbine installations league in 2012, much of this was down to the US market and that is expected to decline substantially this year.

As an indication of GE's position in Germany, it was not included by name in installation by manufacturer statistics for 2012 released by German wind energy institute DEWI (according to GE, it has installed 45MW in Germany since 2009).

Von Bobart's other responsibilities include commercialisation of the new 2.5MW wind turbine with 120-metre blade diameter, designed with a view to use in lower wind speed areas in Germany. It is currently being tested at Wieringermeer in the Netherlands.

GE has about 2.3GW of onshore wind installed in Germany, almost all commissioned pre-2008, according to DEWI data, and accounted for around 7% of the total 31GW of German wind at end-2012.

Prior to Kenersys, von Bobart held management positions at GE Wind Energy including as manager of the business unit Germany, and he was managing director at SSB Wind Systems (formerly SSB Antriebstechnik and now part of American company Emerson Industrial Automation)) in Salzbergen, where GE has a turbine assembly works.

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