Vels Jensen will depart from his role as managing director of Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand at the end of the month, to be replaced by general manager sales, Northern Region, Richard Timson, who is relocating to Melbourne.
Denmark native Vels Jensen started his career as an apprentice with machinery distributor East Asiatic Company (EAC) in 1976. In 1980, he relocated to EAC in Italy before heading to New York for seven years. He spent four years at EAC Singapore, two years in Indonesia and five years in South Africa, first with EAC then with Heidelberg after it acquired EAC’s business.
Vels Jensen relocated to Australia in 2001, originally with a plan to stay here for four years, he told ProPrint. This was first extended by another four years, “then the downturn happened and it was an issue of ‘stay put and when this settles down you will be onto the next assignment’.”
Heidelberg has faced mixed fortunes in recent years. In 2005, Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand sold a “fantastic” 400 printing units, said Vels Jensen. However, the GFC and a slump in offset sales has taken its toll, including widespread redundancies, the departure of global chief executive Bernhard Schreier and the decision to pull out of local show PacPrint.
Vels Jensen is relocating back to Denmark with his family. He said he had not been keen on a corporate position at Heidelberg in Europe so “Heidelberg and myself decided to part ways”.
[Related: Vels Jensen’s National Print Awards speech]
He began his career with WA Currie in Melbourne in 1979, before joining Heidelberg’s local agent, Seligson & Clare, in 1988.
Heidelberg took full ownership of Seligson & Clare around 1990-91.
Timson has held management positions up and down the east coast, first as regional sales manager of Queensland, then as regional sales manager for all of the Northern regions, covering Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT.
Since 2006, Richard has headed up the Northern Region and been an “integral part” of the management team of Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand, according to the company.
Vels Jensen said: “The idea was I had to find a successor and I always believed Richard was the man. He knows the clients and he know the business.”
Vels Jensen said his departure had been planned since Drupa, and he had been steadily handing over to Timson since then. “He got to know the clients quietly along the way without them knowing he was my successor.”
Heidelberg sales & marketing director Alastair Hadley retired from the company this year, before resurfacing as chief operating officer of online print buying company PeoplePrint.
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