Alexander Bernhard takes over the full management of SWAN GmbH as of August 1. His company founding and managing partner André Nowinski is leaving the company after almost ten years to take on a new professional challenge. They provide answers about what’s next for SWAN, how SWAN has positioned itself in the market, and whether it all has anything to do with the current pandemic situation.
1. As sole managing director, you will have many tasks and a high level of responsibility over around 70 employees in the future. How will you deal with that? Who will take over André Nowinski’s duties?
Alexander Bernhard (right in the picture):
André and I have already been very closely coordinated in all processes over the last few years and have made all important decisions together. As a result, practically no new topics are added to my remit. I would like to build on the high level of employee commitment and identification with the SWAN vision by involving the team leads even more closely in strategic decision-making processes. In addition, we have already set the course for broadening the organization in the past as part of our growth strategy and were thus able to bring new employees on board in project management, financial controlling, and sales and marketing.
2. Almost ten years ago, you founded SWAN GmbH together with Alexander Bernhard and built it up into a very successful logistics company. What made you decide to leave SWAN now?
André Nowinski (left in the picture):
SWAN simply doesn’t need me anymore (laughs). Joking time aside, SWAN is an essential part of my professional career and I have enjoyed working with the team over the past few years with full commitment to shaping the future, be it our projects with exciting logistics tasks or our innovative products, such as the 3D Logistics Cockpit. But besides software, there is also my personal passion, automation technology, in which I am now regaining my footing. Setting things in motion once again with a new, young company and challenging the established is something that really appeals to me.
3. What does the leaving mean for the employees, for you personally and for SWAN as a company?
Both the employees and I were naturally surprised by André’s personal decision. In the direct work environment, however, little will change for the majority of colleagues. Our customer projects have a clear vision, SWAN teams have excellent expertise, and the organization is almost no longer structured around special persons compared to the founding years of SWAN. For me personally, André’s departure means a further focus on the strategic management issues in the company and, associated with this, greater responsibility for each individual, but especially for project management. In the end, such changes offer many participants the opportunity to involve themselves in new areas of responsibility.
And for you, Mr. Nowinski?
After nine years, I am leaving something like a big family with whom I have overcome many struggles and celebrated many successes together. This touches me and does not make the decision easy. But in the end, pride prevails in how this team has developed in the past and what it is capable of achieving today. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from SWAN in the future.
4. You remain a shareholder and thus closely associated with SWAN? What does this further connection look like in practice?
As a shareholder, I stay completely out of the operational business and now enjoy the view from the other side. We have an excellent team here that leads the strategic issues. If there should be a need for my expertise, I am of course available for consultation without restriction. Otherwise, I’m eager to see how Alexander develops the company, I think he has a few more arrows in his quiver.
5. André’s departure during the Corona pandemic, of all times, suggests that the decision was made in the context of the Covid 19 crisis. Is that the case? What is the SWAN’s economic position?
No, this impression is wrong. We were able to respond very quickly and efficiently to contact restriction requirements due to our decentralized organizational approach with multiple company locations and the high level of technologization that has always existed. This was true when moving to and from the home office as well as seamlessly working on our client projects. This operational flexibility, combined with our agile project methodology and close ties to our customers and partners, enabled us to achieve above-average results in the first half of the year. The order books are well filled until 2022 and SWAN is optimistic about the future.
6. “There’s magic in every beginning”: What positive message can you give SWAN employees to take with them?
A beautifully fitting verse by Hermann Hesse. I would like to continue to encourage SWAN employees to maintain their inherent persistence to think things in a new way, to try things out and to develop further, and to pass this on to the coming generation of colleagues. I am convinced that this creates creativity and personal satisfaction. With this in mind, stay healthy everyone and goodbye!
Thank you for answering the questions. All the best to you both for your new professional challenges and for you personally.