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Restructuring a subsidiary of specialist chemicals company Ewald Dörken

Case Study


At group subsidiary CD-Color, a profound structural change was in the offing. The focal point was to be the organizational integration of the Düren production facility into the Herdecke site. The factory relocation involved cost reduction measures and a concentration on the core product portfolio. Extensive change processes had to be realized.


Atreus increased the profitability of the CD-Color division with lasting effect. They cleaned up the product range and identified and executed potential cost reductions.



Interview with Karl E. Dörken, Managing Director of Ewald Dörken

What was the situation when you turned to Atreus for support?

CD-Color GmbH & Co. KG is one of Germany’s oldest makers of building paints, varnishes and special dispersions. In recent years, we have adapted and specialized our two production sites in Düren and Herdecke to the growing demands of the national and international building paints market. We hired the Atreus manager at a time when our production units were to be concentrated.


"In addition to his product and market know-how, the innovativeness of the Atreus manager was particularly noteworthy."

You want to know what Atreus can do for you in a similar situation?
Contact Dr. Harald Linné, CEO.

+49 89 452249-200 Harald.Linne(at)

What were the main tasks involved in the structural changes?

Our prime objective was to improve the profitability of our CD-Color division. The departments involved in production were no longer to be maintained at two different sites and the introduction of two-shift operations in Herdecke was to make the company more productive overall. We installed the Atreus manager as Managing Director so he could make the necessary changes.

What were the risks involved in integrating Düren into Herdecke?

It was very important to hold on to our development team, all of whom are highly qualified people. Working together with our management team, the interim manager handled this outstandingly well by including the employees in the planning work right from the very beginning and showing them their prospects at the new venue.

"The Atreus manager's focus on making a success of the project is the reason why the negotiations culminated in a reconciliation of interests that was acceptable to all involved."

"The Atreus manager regularly communicated the project status to management, so that both sides made the most of the opportunity for a vigorous dialog with the corresponding feedback and knowledge exchange. This is indicative of Atreus' high level of professionalism."

Karl E. Dörken, Managing Director of Ewald Dörken

"The Atreus manager regularly communicated the project status to management, so that both sides made the most of the opportunity for a vigorous dialog with the corresponding feedback and knowledge exchange. This is indicative of Atreus' high level of professionalism."


"Our Atreus manager had a hands-on approach and communicated very openly with the staff."

What did the Atreus manager need to bring to the table?

As the structures and work processes at CD-Color appeared to us to be overly entrenched, the manager had to have a lot of experience to be able to get the changes made quickly and unemotionally. We needed a person who could bring about change. Our discussions with the Atreus partner quickly brought us to the realization that this kind of change process can only be managed from a position with business responsibility.

Phase 1: Company analysis and planning

  • Analysis of the cost situation
  • Considering the closure options
  • Compiling process-optimization scenarios
  • Building a project team for the relocation
  • Compiling product profit-contribution calculations
  • Optimizing the product portfolio
  • Setting up a new business plan with cost-reduction measures and process improvements

Phase 2: Execution

  • Designing a new business model at the Herdecke site
  • Optimizing production, logistics and quality processes
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction and the continuity of customer contacts
  • Planning and implementing an internal and external communication strategy with regard to the relocation
  • Developing and implementing a new organizational structure
  • Developing and implementing a new personnel structure
  • Developing a budget controlling tool
  • Making relocation investments in the project team
  • Permanent cost management and budget control

What were the factors that made the Atreus manager’s working style so successful?

The staff at CD-Color are predominantly made up of specialists such as chemical and paint engineers, mechanical engineers, etc. from the outset, the Atreus manager was able to speak the team’s language. He was an exceptionally good communicator with employees and union representatives, for example in the redundancy negotiations. The Atreus manager mastered the numerous challenges with his strategic and yet at the same time highly operational mode of procedure. Thanks to the outstanding performance of Atreus and the manager, we exceeded our EBIT goals.

How did Atreus structure the project work?

We were in close contact with Atreus throughout the entire project phase. The work was highly professional and we would turn to Atreus again when the situation arises.

"Thanks to Atreus’s excellent work, the project remained on schedule and was realized down to the last detail."

Atreus is the leading interim management provider in Germany and one of the largest in its field in Europe. We solve difficult operational management and transformation problems quickly and reliably. Contact us and find out how we can help you master your situation with management expertise that is available at short notice and that is the perfect fit for you.

Atreus is a co-founder of Globalise – the market’s leading and largest provider of international interim management. Accelerating change and delivering success. Worldwide. Structured as a global group of leading interim management firms, Globalise has the reach to support you in solving your company’s most important issues around the world.