Liebherr Werk-Ehingen managing director Friedrich Bär is engaged on a year-long world tour to introduce his successor Hans-Georg Frey to customers around the globe.

Bär has been managing director of Liebherr Werk-Ehingen since 1972. In his 30 years at Ehingen he has led the company to global leadership in the all terrain crane market. At the end of the year, however, he is retiring and hands over the reins to a newcomer Frey.

Frey joined Liebherr on 1 December 2001 to spend a year shadowing Bär in preparation for taking over as managing director. Previously he was managing director of Suessen, a company that makes textile machinery, so while he is only now learning about cranes he knows the capital equipment industry.

To smooth the handover, Frey and Bär have this year embarked on what is effectively a world tour together. In the early part of the year they travelled to Thailand, Singapore and Australia. Next up is South America, then Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan, and then Russia and other eastern European countries. By June, they reckon that they will have covered most of the territories.

Frey accepts that there are challenges ahead, with Liebherr Ehingen having increased its production capacity by 40% just as the world market has slowed. ‘We have to do our homework and work harder,’ he told Cranes Today. ‘I am coming from an industry that is having a tough time. I know what it means to roll up the sleeves and work hard.’