Turning to ACEO®’s next Chapter

Axel Schmidt joined ACEO® as Vice President / Head of 3D Printing in December 2019. (Photo: ACEO®; Wacker Chemie AG)

In December 2019, Axel Schmidt joined ACEO® as new Vice President / Head of 3D Printing. In our interview he tells us how he will start a new chapter, taking ACEO® from start-up to scale-up.

ACEO®: Axel, can you tell us about your educational and professional background?

Axel Schmidt: I have a degree in business administration with a focus on marketing from Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.

Having worked at WACKER for 25 years now, I have spent my entire professional life at the group. I started as an intern, followed by a traineeship. My first job was in sales and marketing, before I got my first management position in logistics planning after a couple of years.

How did your career at WACKER evolve?

In all my years at WACKER, I held over ten positions and moved eleven times around the globe.

After leading a Business Team based in Michigan, a subsidiary in California and the global distribution team I got the opportunity to lead a joint venture in the solar industry. In 2013 I was appointed Vice President for the Silicones Division in North America.

All these jobs had a heavy focus on strategy and business development.
My last position before joining ACEO® was Chief Digital Officer. In this role our team developed strategies for digital customer experience and digital business models.

So how will ACEO® benefit from your vast experience?

ACEO® is the only corporate startup at WACKER and has a digital component. As such, it is essentially a semi-digital business model – something I was already responsible for in my last position.

I don’t have a technical education, but it has always been very natural for me to become familiar with new technologies. In this respect I think I can evaluate the technology from the outside.

It is important to understand the technology and how it is used – but you also need to link the technology to a commercial business plan, which is my goal.

What is your mission with ACEO®?

My mission is to develop ACEO® from startup to scaleup. This primarily involves sales and marketing, with the development of additional markets and potential – including spare parts, product lifecycle, medical technology and many other areas.

Where do you see ACEO® in the future?

I’ll give that much away: We will invest more to establish ACEO® 3D printing as a global industrial technology and will continue to innovate in the area of additive manufacturing.

How is the team prepared for these challenges?

ACEO® has the best team I have ever been able to take on. A team of great, dedicated and highly competent employees, which above all works extremely well as a unit. In start-up mode, everyone has several roles, which is a great challenge. This means that every single position must be perfectly filled.

Last but not least, the team’s chemistry is great.

What are your next steps with ACEO®?

WACKER’s silicone rubber expertise is a unique selling point for ACEO® and vice versa. We are still the only ones who can truly print 100% silicones in true 3D. Since ACEO® still has the character of a research activity at WACKER, we have the opportunity to explore new technologies. We want to maintain this lead, which is why we are already looking into other technologies.

In the first half of 2020, the focus will also be on review and iteration of the business model. I am convinced that our team is excellently prepared for the future.