Wheel loader OEM Avant gets new CEO

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Big changes are underway at Finnish compact wheel loader manufacturer Avant Tecno Oy as a new generation of the family run business takes control of the company.

From October 1, Avant’s founder Risto Kakela steps down as long-term CEO to enter retirement, while his son Jani (above), who for the past 11 years has been the sales and marketing director, steps up to replace his father.

Risto Kakela, Avant Tecno’s founder and outgoing CEO. Picture: Chris McCullough

However, Risto, who founded the company in 1991, will continue as chairman of the board for Avant Tecno Oy and Leguan Lifts Oy, posts he has held since founding of the two companies.

“The company is now in excellent condition and growing strong,” says Risto Kakela. “During the last 30 years our turnover has fallen only once compared to the previous fiscal year, and not once we have made a loss.
“All in all, we could say that it’s easy to continue from this. The new generation will certainly bring a lot of new ideas and thoughts and I’m confident that the growth rate will accelerate further.

“However, it needs to be remembered that it’s about the state of mind when it comes to success. The urge to be the best. This has supported our operations until now and for sure we will continue on the same path also in the future,” said Risto.

Ever since he was a child Jani Kakela has been involved in the company’s operations in some form or other.

“Continuing the family business has been self-evident for me for a long time,” says Jani Kakela. “During the history I have participated a lot in the company’s operations and gradually gotten more responsibilities when growing up.

“At the moment we have a clear growth strategy and we have already done a lot to secure our excellent competitiveness. The future steps are clear and our operation will be continued with decisiveness.”

As replacement for Jani, Jukka Kytomaki has been nominated as the new sales and marketing director of Avant. He has been with the company for the last 10 years, previously serving as the President of Avant Tecno USA. Jukka knows the operating environment and the products of Avant very well and transfers to his new position with enthusiasm.

Also, Antti Otava, the long-term managing director of Leguan Lifts Oy, which is a subsidiary of Avant Tecno Oy, has also retired. Otava leaves the company with strong international growth to his successor Esa Vuorela. Vuorela has a long experience from different development and management positions in industrial companies.

Avant Tecno Oy is located in Ylojarvi, near Tampere and has own sales offices in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom and Brazil and import partners in more than 50 countries all over the world.

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Chris McCullough is a freelance multi-media journalist based in Northern Ireland and has spent the past 18 years travelling the globe hunting for the best stories in food, farming and politics. Chris has won a number of awards for his photos and journalism and is always on the lookout for his next exclusive.

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