The founder of Shapeways is no longer at its helm.
Peter Weijmarshausen was one of the co-founders of popular 3D print service Shapeways in 2007, when it was first launched in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Now he will transition to be “merely” a board member, rather than the CEO.
The service emerged at a time when 3D printing was virtually unknown to the public and even within manufacturing circles. Nevertheless, due to the the efforts of many, including those at Shapeways, that situation has changed significantly in the past ten years.
Beginning with outsourced 3D printers, the company grew and eventually operated its own equipment. We visited their Brooklyn factory in 2013, having a deep look at how they handle the stream of incoming 3D print requests and transform them into real objects for shipping to customers worldwide.
Perhaps the biggest event to occur to Shapeways in its relatively short lifetime has been the transition from European to North American operation in 2010. This created distance from its beginnings as a venture from Philips in Eindhoven and put it directly in what was then thought to be the future hub of 3D printing, New York City. At the time multiple successful 3D printing startups were located in the area, so it must have seemed to be a natural move. And there was plenty of media coverage and investment firms nearby.
However, Weijmarshausen has been with the company for ten years, and that’s a long time for any creative person to be in a single role. Weijmarshausen says:
This is an opportunity for me to step back and reflect on what we have accomplished, while considering my own next chapter. I look forward to Shapeways’ continued evolution and growth.
That’s pretty standard wording, but the gist of it could be that Weijmarshausen simply wants to do something different. On the other hand, there has been no replacement selected yet. Shapeways explains:
As a leader in the ever-expanding 3D printing industry, Shapeways enters a new phase of development and is eager to identify a CEO with the unique set of skills to continue growing and maintain its competitive edge.
To me this sounds that Weijmarshausen’s departure may have been unexpected and could be a signal of changes to come.
Whenever the executives of a company change, it is very important to examine the characteristics of the new CEO, as organizations tend to inherit the characteristics of the leader. This means that the board of Shapeways will pick someone who is likely to achieve their goals. Who will it be? We will find out in coming weeks and months.