As from 1 April 2023, Stefan Knabben will take on the position of Director Sales for the brands Step-G and BUG Aluminium-Systeme for the group. He succeeds Edgar Gebhart, who is going into retirement. Since January both have been visiting customers and the Step-G locations to ensure the transition and continuation of the current successful course.
“I’m delighted to hand over to Stefan Knabben. I know the Step-G team will support him for positive development moving forward”, says Gebhart. Knabben adds: “I’m looking forward to the new challenge and to boosting Step-G’s position on the fiercely competitive market. Drawing on my experience from the aluminium industry, I want to actively drive sustained further market development of the brand and seamlessly follow up on Edgar Gebhart’s successful work.”
Edgar Gebhart – actively shaping the Step-G brand
With over 30 years of experience in the aluminium industry, Edgar Gebhart is an expert on the market. He was barely into his twenties when he launched his career in sales. In 1987 he took on his first post as director of Sales. Subsequently, he worked as a managing director in various companies. During his time in the Step-G Group, he was a driving force behind the brand development after the change of ownership in 2015. He was instrumental in a range of successful projects and shares responsibility for the brand’s improved market standing. As a result, Step-G is today well known as a reliable provider of highly complex, customer-specific solutions. “Edgar Gebhart spent many years leading the Step-G sales team. Over this time, he and his team were able to attract exciting projects and new customers”, says managing director Markus Ogawa.
Stefan Knabben - various, international experience
Stefan Knabben will take over the role from March 2023. Stefan Knabben previously worked for Speira GmbH, a globally operating aluminium rolling and recycling company with its own R&D centre as well as a finishing plant. His last role there was director of Commercial Development. During his career, Knabben has held various positions in areas including automotive, foils and lithography. He has worked in locations as diverse as Grevenbroich, New York and Sao Paulo. “Stefan Knabben has a broad background in various fields. His approach is service-centred, sales-oriented and strongly focused on sales-enhancing marketing. What’s more, he knows the aluminium industry inside out”, says Gebhart. “He is the ideal candidate for our continuing successful market development. As the new director Sales he will inject powerful new dynamism that will prepare the company for upcoming challenges.”
Strong focus on added value for customers
At Step-G, Knabben aims to ensure customer-centred and bespoke aluminium lightweight-construction and service solutions with an even stronger focus on added value for customers. “My vision is an agile, modern sales department with a stronger focus on customer requirements. What’s important for us is that we recognize and analyse the needs of the market and our customers at an early stage. Then we can actively translate these into customer and service solutions”, says Knabben. He aims to achieve these ambitious goals through continuous process optimisations, customer-specific service agreements and excellent delivery performance. “Right now I’m still gaining an overall picture of all the responsibilities and processes. At the same time I’m working with my team on the first changes. It’s all about lean processes, starting with the sales team then spreading out across the organization. This is the only way to achieve improvements in the form of proactive communication as well as excellent services and product supplies to our customers.”
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