Schufa, the German market leader in consumer credit information has appointed Dr. Michael Freytag as CEO of the company.  He will assume his new role on November 1, 2010.   Freytag is a former Senator of the City State of Hamburg.   He is a lawyer and investment banker.  Following his stint in politics he has decided to return to business.

Schufa fired its CEO Rainer Neumann in July of this year over differences in strategy.   Neumann decided at the height of the credit crisis to expand into Eastern Europe, a strategy which appeared to have backfired.  Some industry insiders seem to think there was more to it than meets the eye.  For some time Schufa had taken relentless flak from various critics about a perceived poor quality of consumer information.   Because of his political, banking and legal background Freytag appears to be a logical candidate to deal with the sensitive issues of data quality, data protection and privacy aspects.

To further strengthen its operating management Schufa has tapped Peter Villa as COO.   Mr. Villa will take up this post in the first half of 2011.   He is currently CEO at Bisnode Germany, Switzerland and Austria, one of Europe’s leading suppliers of digital business information. Chairman of the board Theophil Graband said: “With Peter Villa we are adding a personality to the Schufa board, that has had an international career and that is at home in the area of business information. Peter Villa is therefore the right candidate, to extend the competencies of the board with his specific know-how and varied business experience”. The Swedish economist Peter Villa started his career in 1991 in the Bonnier Group, one of the largest Swedish media groups. Here and since 2005 at Bisnote, he held many leading positions in Sweden and in Germany, lately as managing director of the whole German speaking area.   Source:  Schufa and EADP press releases

BIIA comment:  With the appointment of a heavyweight business information executive the Schufa Board signals its intention to expand services beyond the current major scope of consumer information.  It has already set its sights on the small business segment and it is starting to promote itself as a one-stop shop for credit information in Germany.  For Schufa staff the new appointments will be tantamount to culture shock.

BIIA Newsletter November I – 2010 Issue