Siemens Gamesa has named Jochen Eickholt, a member of the executive board at parent company Siemens Energy, as its new CEO, replacing Andreas Nauen, as the “significant challenges” in the OEM’s onshore turbine business finally took their toll.

“Siemens Gamesa is experiencing significant challenges in its onshore business in a very difficult market and we have appointed an executive with a strong track record in managing complex operational situations and in successfully turning around underperforming businesses,” said Miguel Angel López, chairman of the Siemens Gamesa board of directors.

“The board would like to thank Andreas for his considerable efforts as CEO as well as for his previous leadership of the offshore business, which continues to lead the global market.”

A 20-year veteran at Siemens, Eickholt joined the Siemens Energy executive board in January 2020, taking on responsibility for the the group’s power generation and industrial applications divisions as well its Asia Pacific operations.

“Despite the current challenges, the board of directors remains convinced by the long-term prospects and value creation potential of Siemens Gamesa,” said the company, in a statement.

“With an order backlog of more than €33bn ($37bn), leadership in the growing offshore market and a strong service business the company is well positioned for future success. The priority remains to turnaround the onshore unit.” Eickholt starts in the new role on 1 March.

End of the line for Nauen

For Nauen, the departure ends a spell as CEO that began in June 2020 when he took over from predecessor Markus Tacke.

Nauen ran the group's thriving offshore wind arm and the company hoped he would bring that success to the onshore division. The new CEO launched a turnaround plan and promised to end an era where unprofitable onshore wind projects became a drag on Siemens Gamesa.

However, the pandemic, supply chain and inflation-fueled pressures afflicting all wind OEMs were exacerbated for Siemens Gamesa by problems with the ramp-up of its flagship 5.X onshore platform.

The patience of the board and Siemens Energy ran out after a profit warning issued on 22 January, its third in recent succession.

Siemens Gamesa shares, which have almost halved in value over the last year, were up 1.7% at €18.85 in mid-morning trading in Madrid following news of the CEO swap.

January's negative update rekindled market discussions that Siemens Energy would look to take control of the one-third of Siemens Gamesa it does not own.