Kay Spanger

PARIS — Gebr. Heinemann’s Kay Spanger, a well-known figure in the travel-retail industry, will be retiring at the end of 2020.

The 62-year-old executive spent more than four decades at what is now among the world’s largest travel-retail operators, based in Germany.

Dirk Schneider succeeded him as Heinemann’s chief commercial officer on Sept. 1, while Spanger is to remain with the company until the end of 2020 in an advisory role.

Schneider comes from European fashion firm S. Oliver Group, where he served most recently as chief digital and operating officer.

“With Kay Spanger, we bid farewell to a real symbolic figure,” Max Heinemann, chief executive officer of Gebr. Heinemann, said in a statement.

Spanger started at Heinemann on Sept. 1, 1979, as an apprentice. For more than two decades, he has been responsible for the group’s purchasing and logistics departments, after having worked in practically all other areas of the company.

Spanger, for instance, provided ship suppliers and shipping companies with duty-free items for their popular “booze cruises.”

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He then went on to the perfume and cosmetics purchasing department, where he played a key role in establishing that category, which was new for Heinemann at the time.

“Kay Spanger is a doer and achiever, who has always pursued his profession with a lot of zest,” said Claus Heinemann, a co-owner of Gebr. Heinemann. “As a buyer at Gebr. Heinemann, you have to have a high affinity for our products, and Kay Spanger has always been enthusiastic about every single article in our range.”

Gunnar Heinemann, another group co-owner, said of Spanger: “Above all, he is a ‘Heinemann’ with all his heart. If there is one person who embodies our company value — ‘we persevere’ — in a special way, it is Kay Spanger. On behalf of the entire owner family and the executive board, we would like to thank him for a great cooperation based on trust and his outstanding contribution to our business.”

“The support of the owners, as well as my colleagues from the executive board and all Heinemann employees worldwide, has enabled me to accompany this firm up to this point. What I really appreciate is the freedom that has always been given to me in every respect and the trust that has been placed in me,” Spanger said. “I would like to personally tell my brother Raoul how proud I am that we have worked together for such a long time for the benefit of the company.”

He was referring to Raoul Spanger, Heinemann’s chief operating officer.

Kay Spanger plans to spend more time with his family, friends and dogs. For years now, he has been involved with a husky farm in Norway, which trains of dogs for sledding, and environmental programs such as Clean Up Svalbard, and will intensify his focus on those.

Spanger will continue, as well, to serve on the supervisory boards of two perfume distributors, in Germany and Scandinavia.

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