CEO Meddah Hadjar to Leave SLM Solutions

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SLM Solutions (AM3D.DE) has announced that its CEO, Meddah Hadjar, will not be extending his contract with the company at the end of January 2021. The company has stated the reasons for his exit involve “[p]ersonal circumstances related to his family.”

Hadjar was not only the firm’s CEO, but also a member of its Management Board. In his stead will be Sam O’Leary, currently SLM’s COO, who joined in December 2019. The appointment of O’Leary as new CEO was unanimously approved by the Supervisory Board of SLM. Meanwhile, the Supervisory Board will seek candidates to become Chief Commercial Officer, to take on some of Hadjar’s other tasks. The company’s general counsel, André Witt, has now been appointed to the Management Board until a new member has been located.

A rendering of the SLM Solutions’ NXG XII 600 machine. Image courtesy of SLM Solutions

The news is surprising given not just Hadjar’s brief time with the firm, but also the speed with which he was able to redirect the trajectory of SLM Solutions. He came on board in May 2019, just a few years after the company had been shirked by GE in its attempted acquisition in fall 2016. The company began to falter on the stock market after it peaked in January 2018.

After it saw further investment from Elliott Advisors in 2019 and took on Hadjar soon after, things started to turn around, particularly amid the pandemic. While most companies globally reported declines in revenue, SLM was able to maintain some sense of balance due to a backlog of orders from the end of 2019. By August 2020, it had posted 90 percent revenue growth, a trend which continued to an extent into November. At formnext 2020, it was announced that SLM Solutions would release the NXG XII 600, a 12-laser metal powder bed fusion system.

Despite the fact that Hadjar is leaving, we should be able to expect things to continue in the same direction in part because O’Leary was involved in the development of the new NXG XII 600 machine, according to the company.

“Sam has played an integral part in successfully rebuilding SLM Solutions since he joined the Company. He is highly trusted among employees and customers alike and, as one of the global leaders in the industry, Sam is the best person to drive SLM Solutions‘ growth and excellence to the next level,” said Thomas Schweppe, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SLM Solutions.

SLM Solutions credits O’Leary with playing a role in enhancing the firm’s product portfolio and “all its production related processes.” He has said that he will continue his Management Board contract until November 2024 and permanently take on the tasks of “Corporate Development, Strategy and HR.”

“I’m excited to take over the leadership at such an exciting time for the Company. With the changes to the organization and key processes we have made and the additional strong talent we brought into the Company over the past 18 months, we have been able to put SLM Solutions back on a path of success,” O’Leary said. “Importantly we were able to add the industry defining NXG XII 600 to our product portfolio. The customer response we have received since its launch has exceeded even our high expectations.”

Hadjar will also continue as an advisor to the company and may join its supervisory board. SLM will report its FY 2020 financial results on March 25, 2021 and, until then, the management board has reiterated its guidance for the 2020 year from August 12.

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