Being a dynamic and forward-thinking leader has several advantages. Forward-thinking leaders prioritize a shared understanding of priorities and objectives and roadmaps for achieving them. They focus on the intangible aspects of their businesses, such as exceptional talent, leadership, and management teams. Dynamic leaders understand that we no longer live in a static world. They focus on only one thing at a time, help their teams experience a sense of stability while continuously challenging the status quo, and build strong relationships while pushing through performance.
Anton Schneerson is a dynamic and forward-thinking CEO of PLEUGER, possessing a unique blend of qualities instrumental in the company’s transformation. His solid foundation in Private Equity and M&A, coupled with an in-depth understanding of corporate restructuring, has not only helpedPLEUGER to complete a successful turnaround story but catapulted it to the strongest double-digitprofitable heights in over ten years. Anton’s journey to the top of PLEUGER is marked by a unique blend of international experience and academic achievement. Born in Ukraine, he moved to Europe at 16 to pursue his passion for finance. In Vienna, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in finance, followed by a master’s in finance and Investments from London. His early career was characterized by diverse roles in various countries, focusing on diverse investment banking practices, in particular,corporate finance, mergers, and acquisitions. His rich multicultural exposure sets Anton apart—having lived and worked in various countries by the age of 32, he is fluent in multiple languages. This global perspective, combined with his innate creativity and adaptability, has enabled PLEUGER to thrive within Europe and significantly expand its presence and sales into markets like the US and the Middle East.
A Comprehensive Leader
Anton was involved from Flacks Group—whose core focus is acquisitions of distressed businesses, stepping in and turning them around—side on an acquisition of PLEUGER in the summer of 2018 from Flowserve (NYSE) and immediately started with his involvement in finance. Later,he was asked to run overall corporate development and M&A of the company until 2022 when Michael Flacks asked him to step in as managing director of the Hamburg site, before officially becoming the global CEO in January 2023. This transition marked a significant shift for the nearly century-old company, which had been led by a series of seasoned executives since its inception. The company’s history is marked by various ownerships and mergers, including a period under Dresser Industries in the 1980s, a merger with Worthington and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump (IDP), and an acquisition by Flowserve, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, in 2000. Eventually, PLEUGER was acquired by the Flacks Group in 2018.
In the challenging post-Corona and logistics crisis year of 2022, PLEUGER received unwavering support from Michael Flacks. When Anton stepped into his leadership role in June 2022, the Chairman’s commitment to empowering the younger generation was evident. He stood firmly behind key decisions, providing the support where it was most needed. This confidence and backing from the Chairman enabled him to make decisive and impactful changes, including a radical update of the entire management team.
The year 2023 marked a significant turning point for PLEUGER, resembling a “hockey stick” trajectory in the classic scenario of turning around a mid-sized industrial business. The Flacks Group, known for its successful turnaround cases, witnessed a significant transformation under Anton’s leadership. This success story is set to be a standout chapter in the Flacks Group’s history of business revitalizations, highlighting not only the strategic acumen of its leadership but also the potential of embracing a younger team.
The pioneering leader brings a comprehensive, big-picture approach to steering PLEUGER Industries toward enhanced productivity. With his M&A background, he understands the importance of a granular focus on each aspect of the business, from sales and operations to procurement, engineering, and logistics. He drives the organization with a keen eye on performance metrics, ensuring that each department aligns with the overarching business objectives and financial health. He recognizes that while businesses and models may have similarities, it is the diligent execution of fundamental principles that differentiates a successful company. Starting at the front end, he emphasizes the importance of a robust sales strategy guided by market data and customer feedback, ensuring that revenue generation is proactive rather than reactive.
Moving to operations, Anton leverages his experience to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and reduce waste. He implements precise operational metrics to measure productivity, cost control, and quality assurance, understanding that the company’s engine must run smoothly to support its growth. In procurement, his focus shifts to optimizing cost without compromising the quality of inputs. By analyzing spending data and supplier performance, he ensures that procurement contributes positively to the company’s margins.
Engineering and logistics are not left to their own devices; the trailblazing leader applies performance metrics that ensure engineering innovation leads to practical, cost-effective solutions, while logistics efficiency is continuously improved to meet delivery commitments and enhance customer satisfaction. Through a balanced scorecard approach, he ensures that all departments are aware of their own metrics and understand how they interlink with the metrics of other departments, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose. His leadership is about understanding that numbers tell a story, and he uses this narrative to make informed decisions that drive PLEUGER Industries forward.
A significant chapter in Anton’s career was his mentorship under Michael Flacks, a seasoned expert in corporate finance. This experience shaped his strategic approach to business and finance. At PLEUGER Industries, he has implemented a hands-on, customer-centric approach, valuing insights from all levels of management. Incorporating these values into PLEUGER’s culture has led to a company renowned for its high-quality, bespoke products and exemplary customer service and aftercare. For the innovative leader, success is about creating a sustainable trajectory of growth and innovation that resonates with the core of PLEUGER’s identity.
Building A Great Company
PLEUGER Industries is committed to delivering engineering solutions that ensure operational continuity and efficiency for its clients. At the heart of its mission lies the dedication to ease the minds of the engineers who manage vast and complex installations across sectors such as renewable energy, oil and gas, and water management. Its focus is to offer peace of mind through unparalleled engineering expertise and robust, quality products known for their German-engineered reliability.
The company’s approach transcends standard manufacturing; it involves a synergistic dialogue between its engineering team and the client’s technical experts, ensuring that every solution we provide is not just a product but a customized, long-lasting engineering masterpiece. PLEUGER products are not off-the-shelf but are often the result of meticulous, tailored engineering crafted to meet specific, challenging demands that others in the market step away from.
By maintaining the highest quality and aftercare service standards, PLEUGER has established itself as the last call for clients seeking solutions for mission-critical and complex challenges. Whether it’s a pump that needs to operate flawlessly for decades in an offshore wind farm or a submersible motor that must withstand the demanding conditions of a mining operation, their engineering solutions are designed to perform reliably under the most severe conditions, providing sustainable and efficient mining pit dewatering operation year after year.
“This commitment to engineering excellence and customer service is at the forefront of our mission, propelling PLEUGER to new heights and establishing us as a leader in our field,” explains Anton. “At PLEUGER, the extraordinary capabilities of our submersible motors—encompassing quality, customization, durability, and suitability for harsh conditions—are a direct result of our industry-leading patents, in-depth engineering knowledge, and the expertise nurtured within our organization. Some of our motors are engineered to withstand a couple kilometers of submersion underwater, and they are built to last, with some units functioning flawlessly for over a decade, in fact last month we received a submersible motor that was in a continues operations in the sea for 38 years. This is what German engineering is about.”
This remarkable track record is due in no small part to its exceptional team. Notably, 50% of the company’s employees are engineers, a statistic reflecting the central role of engineering expertise in the company’s success. These professionals are the driving force behind their ability to meet the demanding requirements of industries such as mining, where energy efficiency and uninterrupted operation are imperative.
Creating A Brilliant Future
In 2023, PLEUGER Industries experienced a significant financial milestone. Under Anton’s leadership, the company achieved nearly 20% profitability, the highest in fifteen years. This success can be attributed to strategic initiatives in digitalization, cost reduction, enhanced service offerings, and a focus on aftermarket strategies. Additionally, the company recorded its highest bookings and billings in overa decade, despite challenging market conditions.
Underpinning this transformation is their dedication to embracing a global identity. As a German-origin company, PLEUGER has expanded its self-perception to that of an international brand with manufacturing plants spread across continents. This expansion has been coupled with a multicultural workforce, which reflects its diverse and international clientele.
In a groundbreaking shift for PLEUGER, 2023 is also the year they have turned their attention to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, actively engaging with how they can serve local communities more conscientiously. “By initiating dialogues with external partners and stakeholders, we aim to extend our reach and positive impact far beyond our direct operations,” adds Anton. “This strategic foresight in management, along with an increased focus on sustainable practices, positions PLEUGER not only as an industry leader in submersible motor technology but also as a responsible and forward-thinking global enterprise.”
PLEUGER Industries is committed to becoming a technologically advanced company in its product and service offerings. Under the great CEO’s vision, PLEUGER is striving to maintain and expand its presence in key markets, including North America, Europe, and the Middle East. This focus on technological innovation is aimed at solidifying the company’s position as a market leader in these regions. Looking ahead, PLEUGER Industries plans to form an advisory board composed of seasoned market players. This board will play a crucial role in steering the vision and strategy of the business, ensuring that PLEUGER remains at the forefront of innovation and market trends. Anton’s tenure as CEO of PLEUGER Industries has been marked by strategic foresight, effective mentorship, and a keen understanding of the global finance landscape. His leadership continues to drive the company towards greater innovation, technological advancement, and financial success.