Rational’s Simon Lohse says he will be leaving behind a business that has shown it is flexible enough to overcome any challenge when he vacates the UK hot-seat later this summer.
Mr Lohse’s five-year tenure as UK managing director is coming to an end after he agreed to relocate to the US to run Rational’s North American and Mexican operations.
With preparations for his move to Chicago well underway, he told FEJ: “I am proud to have helped to build a team spirit at Rational UK and Ireland that has delivered success – success not only for the Rational team but also for our valued dealer partners and service partners.
“With a strong emphasis on team, we have been able to be flexible in our approach, secure in adapting quickly to challenges created by Brexit and Covid, as well as other changes in the market.”
Mr Lohse joined Rational in 2016 and said his five years at the helm of the combi oven manufacturer had brought many achievements he was proud of.
“The successful integration of the Frima brand within Rational was a definite highlight, and with that change we were able to offer even greater support to our business partners and end-user customers. Obviously the iCombi and iVario product launch in 2019, and the need to convert that from a physical event to an online platform was a huge challenge but delivered tremendously rewarding results.
“Further to that, the development of our online sector-specific CookLive events and the success we are seeing in delivering full thermo cooking capabilities in terms of iCombi, iVario and ConnectedCooking as a complete solution to a variety of commercial kitchen operations brings a great sense of achievement.”
Mr Lohse said he had made some great lifelong friends through working in the catering equipment industry and been humbled to receive so many messages of support and thanks from those that had learned about his move.
“I’ve worked in food equipment manufacture, supply, service and sales for more than 30 years and loved every minute,” he said. “In working with and supporting the FEA, I have grown to love not just the people but the industry in the UK and Ireland as a whole. I am proud to have served the FEA as vice-chair and will regret not becoming chair in the future, but I know having worked with those on the board and on council that the association is in great hands.”
Mr Lohse will start his new role in August and said he was excited about the prospect of taking on Rational’s business across the pond.
“It is a great new challenge to become responsible for the US, Canadian and Mexican markets, which are individual in their own right and all quite different in some aspects of structure to the UK market. I am looking forward to living and working in a different culture, with different market dynamics, to leading and supporting the strong Rational team already in place in North America, to meeting new colleagues and business partners, and to making new friends.”
Asked what the succession plan is for the UK business and when his replacement would be announced, he said: “We are fortunate to have a strong management team in the UK and Ireland. The most important thing is that we make the right appointment so we will carry out a thorough recruitment process.
“I would expect my successor to be named in due course but there is no need to rush. We will, of course, keep all our business partners fully aware of who that is at the appropriate time.”