‘The era now has ended. Yesterday I had my last day [at AIXTRON] after almost 17 years,’ wrote Guido Pickert in a much-liked post on LinkedIn just before Christmas. The company veteran has now taken up a new role at Gerresheimer, a Düsseldorf-headquartered company specializing in drug packaging and delivery solutions, diagnostic and medical devices and cosmetics packaging.
‘After 67 earnings calls and 17 AGMs,’ Pickert noted that he was leaving AIXTRON with the firm trading at ‘the highest stock price level’ of his tenure: ‘It was around €5 when I started and was at €38 when I left.’
Talking about AIXTRON as a ‘very exciting and educative part of my professional life,’ Pickert noted some particularly dramatic moments in IR at the firm. ‘It was marked by many ups and downs,’ he wrote, ‘including an intervention by the president of the US preventing the sale [of the company] to China. Today, the company is in very good shape and is on a multiyear growth trajectory.’
In a previous interview with IR Magazine, Pickert discussed the details of that 2016 takeover bid by China’s Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund, which was ultimately blocked by then US president Barack Obama. ‘This was a very demanding period in AIXTRON’s history and the most demanding phase of my working life,’ he said at the time.
Ups and downs
‘We experienced ups and downs during the offer period, during which the German government withdrew its previously issued approval of the merger. This had never happened before, and our small team found itself having to deal with global interest from press and investors.
‘From an IR point of view, targeted measures to explain the deal rationale in numerous meetings and targeted campaigns led to a 78 percent acceptance rate of the offer. Despite this, the final result was that the offer was ultimately withdrawn following an executive order by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the US president, blocking the deal,’ he explained.
Pickert also shared some lessons learned: ‘My major takeaway from this project was that preparation (for everything that can be thought of) is king. Any unforeseen events have to be dealt with quickly and in a pragmatic way, as time becomes extremely rare.’
In that broad conversation, Pickert also discussed being ‘Europe’s most-shorted company,’ the healthy coverage enjoyed by AIXTRON despite its status as a small-cap company, and his former life in radio.
Pickert has now taken up his new role at Gerresheimer, where he succeeds Bernhard Wolf, who has headed up IR at Gerresheimer on an interim basis since August 2023, after Carolin Nadilo moved into a new role at the firm.
Welcoming Pickert to Gerresheimer, Dr Bernd Metzner, CFO says in a statement: ‘The interest in our company among international investors is on the rise. We are delighted to have attracted an excellent capital market specialist in Guido to help support this development and continue advancing investor relations at Gerresheimer together with his team.’