Stihl President Fred Whyte will retire at the end of this year after 44 years with the company, 23 as president. Under Whyte’s tenure, the company experienced record growth, becoming America’s No. 1-selling brand of gasoline-powered, handheld outdoor power equipment.
Bjoern Fischer, currently Stihl vice president of finance, will assume the duties of president on Jan. 1. Fischer joined Stihl in 2012 after 20 years at Siemens. In addition to the financial operations of the company, he oversees the human resources and information services departments in his current role.
A native of South Africa, Fischer graduated from the University of Cape Town with a bachelor’s degree in commerce. He serves on the regional board of directors of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and on the Dean’s Executive Advisory Council for Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business.
“I am excited both personally and professionally to continue my work with the team at Stihl,” Fischer says. “I look forward to building on the foundation that Fred has laid and using my experiences in Germany and the United States to accelerate our growth and momentum as we look to the future.”
Whyte, who has been a prominent figure in the outdoor power equipment industry, plans to enjoy more time with family and to stay involved with the brand. “It has been a great privilege to lead Stihl Inc. and to be a part of the tremendous success we have enjoyed over the last 23 years,” Whyte said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished and I am pleased that Bjoern Fischer will be leading the company going forward.”