The head of German robotics firm Kuka may be forced out of the company within two years of the firm’s acquisition by Chinese appliance maker Midea, the Financial Times.
The move to remove Till Reuter, who has been CEO of Kuka since 2009, comes at an awkward political moment, as European governments discuss plans to tighten investment rules to prevent China from buying up the continent’s leading technology developers.
Midea had previously pledged to take a hands-off approach to managing Kuka after acquiring the firm for 4.5 billion euros, extending Reuter’s contract till 2022 as recently as last year.
But Reuter has reportedly clashed with Midea executives over the strategic direction of the Kuka-Midea joint venture in China. Kuka’s revenue in China has grown more than tenfold to 500 million euros since 2013, but growth has slowed in the past year.