Management and Team

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Executive

Ralf Linden

Chief Commercial Officer

UNIVERSUM Inkasso GmbH
UNIVERSUM Payment Solution GmbH
UNIVERSUM Business GmbH
UNIVERSUM Finance GmbH

“What you want to ignite in others must first burn inside yourself” according to this saying of St. Augustine, Ralf Linden manages the activities of his team. The dynamic CCO, is an efficient doer type and determines the marketing and sales strategies. However, he does not limit himself to his area of expertise, but keeps an overview of all company divisions and thus influences the strategic development of the UNIVERSUM Group. He constantly challenges and promotes the development of his team and is appreciated for his professionalism, his humour and the fact that he always faces his employees when challenges arise. His passion is cooking and FC Bayern Munich. During his training in the fitness studio, he really powers up again - here he recharges his strength and energies.

Gunnar Jöns

Chief Operating Officer

UNIVERSUM Inkasso GmbH
UNIVERSUM Payment Solution GmbH
UNIVERSUM Business GmbH
UNIVERSUM Finance GmbH

"The whole is more than the sum of its parts" - according to this motto, COO Gunnar Jöns leads the Product Management, Processes and IT departments for which he is responsible. For the managing director, cooperation, commitment and personal communication are an important key to overall success. In doing so, he draws on the experience he has gained in various management positions at large companies and in consulting. He has already supported the UNIVERSUM Group in the past with the realignment of product, process and project management. His employees and colleagues appreciate the technically affine and curious early adopter for his decisiveness, his reliability and his open ear for other opinions. In his spare time he explores the world with friends and family or enjoys cosy evenings in nice company.

Board of Directors

Petra Linden

Director of Key Account Management

“Man is all the greater, the more he is himself” this quote from Antoine de Saint Excupéry, is probably fit no better example than Petra Linden. The Director of Key Account Management is valued by her clients for her highly motivated and professional commitment. She is a team player and loves it enormously to provide her clients with a high level of benefit in a high-performance team. She remains tenacious until she has achieved the best result. Her colleagues appreciate her good mood and reliability. In her free time she gives strength and endurance classes in the gym. True to her training motto "Don´t wish for it - work for it", she is once again really powering through.

Dr. Michael Semmler

Managing Director

UNIVERSUM Business GmbH

Optimistic and always professional: Leadership by example and expertise, is Dr. Michael Semmler’s way of manageing his staff. The Managing Director is responsible for the UNIVERSUM group’s credit checks, business intelligence, and portfolio reviews. The risk management expert with a Ph.D. in mathematics is appreciated for his expertise, his reliability and his ability to take seemingly insignificant issues seriously. He is with us since 2007 and previously worked in the campaign management for E-commerce, in the portfolio monitoring, and factoring. In addition to his position in the UNIVERSUM Group, he enjoys stimulating discussions with his students during his lectures in Business Informatics at the University of Ingolstadt.

Nicole Steppat

Director of Legal & Human Resources

As Director of Legal and Human Resources, Nicole Steppat heads the legal and human resources departments of the UNIVERSUM Group. The specialist lawyer for commercial and corporate law lives up to her motto "Always fair to the goal" in her daily personnel work, in the conduct of legal disputes, but also in dealing with her own team. Her employees appreciate her helpfulness, her humorous openness in their personal dealings and her interest in new professional challenges.
After studying law at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Nicole Steppat worked for several international commercial law firms for several years. The sports lover prefers to spend her free time jogging, doing yoga or on horseback.

Inkassomanagement

Rainer Hessler

Head of Business Process Engineering

"Only those who are a good colleague to themselves can be one to others" - Rainer Heßler carries this motto throughout his entire professional life. For over 30 years he has been active in various functions in the receivables management of the UNIVERSUM Group and since January 2016 he has been Head of Business Process Engineering together with his colleague Paraskevi Migkou responsible for the operational processes in the debt collection area. With his highly motivated team, he ensures flexible process design and the right approach to debtors. His colleagues appreciate his empathy and his willingness to pass on his experience to others. As a balance he enjoys hiking, cycling and canoeing on extended tours the beauty of nature.

Paraskevi Migkou

Head of Administration

“Together we are strong” – this slogan best describes the way Paraskevi Migkou works. As Head of Administration, she manages the collection department of the UNIVERSUM Group together with her colleague Rainer Heßler and the team leaders. The receivables management specialist has been with the company since 1995 and can look back on many years of debt collection experience. She bears the most difficult name to spell in the entire UNIVERSUM Group and is appreciated by her colleagues and employees for her assertiveness, competence, commitment and humour. In her free time she enjoys good conversations with friends over a glass of red wine and homemade food or rewards herself for her work with extensive shopping tours.

Sales Manager

Christian Lengstorff

Senior Sales Manager

"Understand the need of your client, then you will find the solution" - with this customer-centric attitude Christian Lengstorff succeeds in being successful as Senior Sales Manager. Born in Bremen, Lengstorff knows his way around receivables management in e-commerce, the energy sector, banking and publishing. As a team player, he always tries to think around corners and thus find the best solution for all sides. His colleagues appreciate the former Senior Key Account Manager of Axactor for his calm, friendly manner and for his creative ideas. For relaxation he plays tennis, wakeboarded, refines his piano playing and considers buying a motorbike to make the nearby Odenwald unsafe.

Assistants

Lena Zimmermann

Executive Assistant

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken" by Oscar Wilde is the motto of Lena Zimmermann. She is a real expert in planning and organization. Without her overview, almost nothing works. The assistance of CEO, Ralf Linden, enriches the team with her helpfulness and humorous charisma. From her previous position as a travel and event manager, she has the necessary experience in this area. This is also where her hobby of travelling to foreign countries and cities in her free time comes from. But she can also be seen passionately, cheering and shaking the head alternately in the stadium at her heart soccer club, Eintracht Frankfurt. During convivial evenings with friends she collects the necessary strength for her balanced nature.

Account Manager

Christiane Peter

Head of Merchant Service & Contracts

True to the motto "Doing better is better than knowing better", Christiane Peter as Head of Merchant Service & Contracts also likes to take on complex challenges. She is appreciated by her colleagues for her reliable way of working, her humour and her composure. Before joining the UNIVERSUM Group, she worked as a specialist for process and service management, in customer service and accounts receivable management, and in various E-commerce companies. She uses the knowledge she gained there in designing structured service and payment processes optimally for her current work. The team player uses her free time to do sports and travel, or to spend time with her friends and family.

Joerg Feldmann

Expert CRM & Debt Collection

Serving customers, answering questions and solving problems is what describes the duties of Expert CRM & Debt Collection, Jörg Feldmann. Adhering to his motto “Fortes fotuna iuvat” – fortune favours the brave – he masters every challenge that arises in everyday customer contact. The native Rhinelander, who studied business administration in Frankfurt am Main, knows the collection management of the UNIVERSUM Group from A to Z. Both his clients and his colleagues value his humorous, open manner, modesty and expertise. He spends his free time hiking or cooking evenings together, celebrating Asian cuisine.

Katharina Benning

Senior Account Manager

Katharina Benning brings over 40 years of professional experience to the UNIVERSUM-Group team. With her expertise in credit assessment and servicing, she already scored well during Neckermann's time. The Senior Key Account Manager always works according to the motto: "Nothing is impossible". Billing processes or contract preparation are not a challenge for her - in case of doubt, the native Hessian simply researches missing information herself. The predestined cook proves her creativity and perseverance when baking upside-down cakes or other exotic creations. The colleagues also look forward to the homemade salmon rolls during breakfast together. In the evening, the onboarding expert, who is highly esteemed for her balance and always stays calm even in critical situations, likes to relax with a good book.

Lena Kraus

Key Account Manager

As a trained bank clerk, Lena is the ideal addition to our team as Key Account Manager. With her ambitious and open nature, she has a positive attitude towards new things and challenges. She also owes her rapid understanding of the various areas to her curiosity. As Key Account Manager she looks after our customers in e-commerce and takes care of their affairs and wishes in detail. "Don't regret anything in life - except for what you didn't do," says Lena very aptly. She prefers to experience the adventures that come with her travels to foreign countries. She moves sporty to the rhythm of the music at the show dance, while she can also leave five in the circle of her friends and family at cosy evenings.

Alfred Kessler

Customer Relationship Manager

"Watching the difficult until it becomes easy" - according to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Albert Schweitzer, Alfred Kessler has been working for the UNIVERSUM Group since 1988. The senior member of the team, who was responsible for the development of individual debt collection software in the 1990s and who in the meantime had two subsidiaries as co-managing directors, remained with the company even after reaching the age limit of 2014. As a charming Customer Relationship Manager, he puts his heart and soul into looking after his customers and is often able to solve problems before they even occur. His colleagues appreciate his helpfulness, reliability and assertiveness. In his spare time he enjoys racing bikes in the surrounding area, skiing in the Alps and diving off the Brazilian coast.

Partner Management

Sören Trautmann

Head of Partner Management

"Live and let live" - this attitude helps Sören Trautmann to achieve a win-win situation, even in complex situations, with which all sides can live well. The Senior Relationship Manager has been with the company since 2011, interrupted by a one-year sabbatical. After studying business administration, he gained industry experience as a mortgage consultant at a private bank and factoring company and is responsible for partner management at the UNIVERSUM Group. His colleagues value him for his reliability, his down-to-earth approach, his sense of justice and his ability never to lose sight of the client's interests. The passionate amateur chef spends his free time either in the kitchen or mountain biking and skiing in the great outdoors.

Wolfgang Henn

Partner Manager

"Who always does what he already can, always remains what he already is": This attitude of Senior Sales Manager Wolfgang Henn is the basis for the decision to dare something new after many years in the fitness industry and to hire at the UNIVERSUM Group. Since February 2018, the Rhenish cheerful nature has enriched the sales team with his uncomplicated manner, his open ear for problems and many souvenirs from the Cologne Carnival. Through many years of experience in leading positions in the fitness market, he knows the industry and the problem of unpaid membership fees inside out. The passionate cyclist and skier spends his free time playing sports in all its facets, attending concerts and musicals, reading books and travelling extensively through Italy.

Product Management

Thomas Weigang

Head of Product Management

"Only travelling is life, as life is travelling in reverse" - with this calm attitude Thomas Weigang succeeds in keeping a calm head even in stressful situations. In the past, the Head of Product Management worked for Commerzbank AG, among others, and was deeply immersed in the intermeshing of e-commerce and stationary retail at VÖB-ZVD Processing GmbH, one of the leading network operators in the area of cashless payments. The payment expert uses his experience in product management and his fundamental understanding of IT processes to adapt innovations and develop tools for successful cooperation between the specialist departments. His colleagues appreciate his structured approach and the fact that he regularly serves as a guinea pig for the culinary creations of the hobby chef. In his spare time, Thomas Weigang likes to discover new countries, live out his nerdy side by testing out technical gadgets or simply relax by doing nothing.

Katrin Steidl

Senior Product Manager

Katrin Steidl has been with UNIVERSUM Group since January 2016. The Senior Product Manager is also well versed in the areas of risk management, e-commerce and receivables management thanks to her previous professional experience: After studying business law, she worked for Bürgel in Hamburg for 10 years. Her professional expertise, her willingness to help and her ability to plan carefully make her a haven of peace that is appreciated by the entire team. Her motto "Success depends on whether you can hold out when others have already given up" shows that she also has a good deal of patience and determination. When time allows, the mother of two tries to clear her head while swimming or running.

Kai Sommerfeld

Business Consultant

"Progress, not perfection" - this motto describes Kai Sommerfeld's pragmatic and goal-oriented approach. As a business consultant, he manages cross-divisional IT projects, forms the interface between IT and operative business areas and is responsible for the onboarding processes of new customers. It is also their satisfaction that is the focus of the e-commerce professional's work. Before joining the UNIVERSUM Group, he gained more than 15 years of experience in web development, fulfillment and multichannel - among others with a "Amazon Food & Beverage" pilot customer. His colleagues appreciate the hobby musician for his broad expertise, his "can-do" mentality and his humour. In his spare time, he prefers to cultivate flora and fauna in his garden, the latter consisting of a dog and three cats.

Marketing Manager

Catharina Reteaca

Head of Marketing

"Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it's not fine, it's not the end" - this quote from Oscar Wilde is characteristic of Catharina Reteaca's optimistic attitude to life. Since January 2016, she has been responsible for events, creativity, coordination of service providers and sales support at the UNIVERSUM Group. During her previous professional career, the Head of Marketing has also gained experience in website support and the creation of social media profiles. With her humour and her good mood she always brings a breath of fresh air into the office. The passionate sportswoman uses her free time for strength training in the gym and extensive film evenings. She is appreciated by her colleagues for her homemade dishes and cakes.

Alexander Oberbillig

Senior Online Marketing Manager

The experienced senior online marketing manager has many years of experience in banking and e-commerce. Before joining the UNIVERSUM Group, he spent 5 years as a Marketing Manager for a well-known direct bank. He always keeps an eye on all KPIs and constantly optimizes the performance of the websites. Whether SEO or profitable lead campaigns, Alexander Oberbillig always finds the right approach. At the same time he has a subtle sense of humor and can laugh at himself. In his free time, the amateur cooking assistant risks head and neck as a goalkeeper and passes on his talent to his childs.

Joachim Hässler

Online Marketing Manager

If Joachim Hässler had a life motto, it would be "a life without a subjunctive". He means what he says. And when he laughs, it was funny. His various positions in sales and marketing have made him a language enthusiast. This characteristic, unusual for a Middle Franconian, expresses itself in the love of words, even individual letters, especially when they appear digitally. If he does not care about the website and the creation of further contents of the UNIVERSUM Group, he buys sneakers, books and even more books online. Whether social media, public relations, newsletters or specialist articles, Joachim Hässler moves like a fish in water in the digital world. In contrast to real life, where the online marketing manager lacks the webs to become a successful triathlete. He is especially happy at work when coffee and humour have the same colour: black.

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