Nauen takes the hot-seat in the midst of a pandemic that has created logistical challenges for turbine manufacturers, and prompted SGRE to withdraw guidance for its fiscal year.
SGRE did not explicitly give a reason for terminating Tacke’s contract - and did not hold a conference call to explain further, or provide a quote from him in press materials.
But the company simultaneously announcing that it now expects negative earnings for its full fiscal year (October 2019 to September 2020), may be the closest thing to an explanation SGRE has given for terminating his contract, or is likely to give.
Setting SGRE back on the path to profitability is surely a top priority for Nauen.
Key to this will be turning its faltering onshore business around. Indeed, SGRE’s chairman Miguel Angel López said he expects Nauen - the CEO of SGRE’s offshore unit until Wednesday (17 June) - to “stabilise the onshore area quickly”.
Nauen was made SGRE’s offshore wind CEO in November 2017, replacing Michael Hannibal, who left to become a partner at fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
Since the end of 2017, he has helped SGRE’s offshore fleet grow 46.5% to 15.3GW - outpacing the 14.6% growth in its onshore portfolio in the same period - according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.
Towards the end of his tenure as offshore head, SGRE also upped the stakes in the offshore arms race, unveiling a 14MW turbine, which has already racked up nearly 3GW of provisional orders. Commercialisation is a long way off, however.
SGRE retained its top spot for offshore installations last year, with its 3.3GW of new additions more than triple the 1GW installed by nearest rival MHI Vestas.
Replicating that success in SGRE’s onshore business will be a key task for Nauen.
Nauen also led Senvion (then Repower) between July 2010 and December 2015 - prior to the collapse of the German market, the manufacturer’s subsequent struggles and, ultimately, the acquisition of key assets by SGRE. Siemens Gamesa acquired Senvion’s intellectual property, Portuguese factory and 9GW onshore servicing portfolio earlier this year.
But it was still a turbulent time for Senvion, with Nauen overseeing job-cutting measures - in response to a lack of offshore orders as it sought to gain control in the nascent sector - and batting away reports of takeovers.
Nauen also had to deal with parent company Suzlon, which was grappling with its own debts, before it ultimately sold Senvion to private equity group Centerbridge in a €1 billion cash deal in January 2015. Suzlon could not access Senvion’s intellectual property until it acquired over 95% of the company, and struggled to access capital from its subsidiary due to Senvion’s banking arrangements.
Despite this, he oversaw continued profitability at Senvion.
Nauen served as CEO of Siemens Wind Power for nearly six years from November 2004 to June 2010 - so his promotion at Siemens Gamesa somewhat sees him come full circle.
As Siemens Wind Power CEO he led the integration of Bonus into the company between 2004 and 2005 - a parallel to the integration of Siemens and Gamesa that his predecessor Tacke oversaw, and also to the integration of SGRE into parent company Siemens’ new gas and power unit Siemens Energy.
During a 19-year stint with the company, he had served as a project manager, sales and account manager, power generation consultant, sales director for Italy and then eastern and southern Europe, and director of strategy for marketing and communications before becoming CEO.