Horst Garbrecht to head up HiKOKI Power Tools & Metabo in Europe

The CEO of Metabo GmbH, Horst Garbrecht, has taken on a parallel role as COO Europe for KOKI Holdings, the Japanese parent of Metabo and HiKOKI Power Tools.

The move will see the European headquarters of KOKI Holdings established in Nürtingen, Baden-Württemberg - also the home to Metabo GmbH.

Through the move, HiKOKI Europe will look to make the most of synergies with Metabo's existing structure. All HiKOKI subsidiaries in Europe will retain their independence.

While there is some overlap of common power tools between the two brands, Metabo will continue to focus on metalworking and the metal industry, while HiKOKI will concentrate on the construction industry.

"HiKOKI may be a relatively young brand name, but behind it are the 70 years of experience of Hitachi Power Tools," said Garbrecht. "The Japanese, like us Germans, have for decades had an outstanding reputation when it comes to the technology of power tools. HiKOKI, while it was still called Hitachi, made a big name for itself in power tools for the construction industry. Tools like HiKOKI’s heavy rotary hammers and nailers have since been considered the best the market has to offer in the field. That’s why I’m looking forward not only to further advancing the Metabo brand, but also to do my best in harnessing the impressive history of Hitachi Power Tools to build a successful future for HiKOKI in Europe."

HiKOKI's construction industry focus

"At Metabo, we focus on metalworking and the metal industry – as well as the building trade and renovation. For these core target groups, we offer, alongside our wide range of common power tools, specialised tools and solutions that are tailor made to the needs of these end-user groups. The same applies to HiKOKI, but its focus is more on the construction industry. In this respect, Metabo and HiKOKI complement each other perfectly, despite having some overlaps in the field of common power tools," said Garbrecht, who also envisages both brands working more closely together in Europe to strengthen the position of the Group as a whole.

"We are to a certain extent moving closer together geographically and organisationally,’ explains Garbrecht. ‘But it remains the case that both brands are acting independent on the market and they will continue to develop their own DNA. We believe that this will lead to greater benefits to our customers by offering two distinctive and strong brands delivering differentiated power tool solutions. We are very much looking forward to developing Nürtingen as a home for two brands in Europe being the European headquarters of the KOKI Holdings. It will also mean some upgrading of the Metabo head office, which will bring many opportunities to Nürtingen, including a series of new jobs and additional career possibilities for our common workforce."

New boss brings engineering and extensive power tool brand experience

Garbrecht started his professional life at Mercedes and studied mechanical and energy engineering at Esslingen University, then began his career in the power tool industry with manufacturer Festool in 1992. He later moved to the Swedish machine builder Atlas Copco and was Managing Director of AEG Milwaukee, a member of the TTI Group. He has been CEO of Metabo since 2009, where he initiated a change of strategy based on focusing on professional users in trade and industry in the development, production and distribution of Metabo´s product and solution offers. Metabo has steadily developed under his direction and has moved to the technological forefront in the important growth field of battery-driven power tools. Garbrecht is also on the executive board of KOKI Holdings, from October onwards as COOE/Senior Vice President.

"We were looking for the best candidate for the role of COOE. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go very far because we already had him at KOKI Holdings," explained Atsushi Morisawa, CEO of KOKI Holdings. "With his technical background as an engineer, his decades of experience inside and outside the industry and his exceptional management skills, Horst Garbrecht is a major player in the market. All of that makes him the perfect COOE for KOKI Holdings."

Torque spoke with HiKOKI's UK arm on the big rebrand from Hitachi to HiKOKI last year (Hitachi Power Tools became Metabo HPT in the USA) More recently, Torque put a number of HiKOKI's latest product launches through the 'Torque Tested' wringer, including the cordless mitre saw (3607DRA). Metabo, meanwhile, bagged the 'Power Tool brand of the year' accolade from On The Tools last year.

Metabo battery tech leads the Cordless Alliance System (CAS).