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Change in ONTRAS management completed: Gunar Schmidt succeeds Uwe Ringel in the Operations and Safety division

Gunar Schmidt will take over as Managing Director of Operations and Safety at ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH on 1 April 2024. The qualified engineer and business economist will manage the company together with Ralph Bahke, Managing Director of Controlling and Development. He succeeds Uwe Ringel, who is now retiring after many years of successful service.

Der ehemalige Geschäftsführer Betrieb und Sicherheit Uwe Ringel, sein Nachfolger Gunar Schmidt und Ralph Bahke, Geschäftsführer Steuerung und Entwicklung

"I look forward to working with our employees to drive ONTRAS forward on the path to a climate-neutral energy future. The transformation of our pipeline network towards hydrogen harbours numerous challenges that we can only overcome together," says Schmidt.

Hans-Joachim Polk, Chairman of the ONTRAS Supervisory Board, emphasises: "I am looking forward to a close and trusting collaboration. Gunar Schmidt is starting at an important time for ONTRAS: Decisive political decisions are now being made for transmission system operators such as ONTRAS. In future, a large part of our investment will be channelled into the development of a core network for hydrogen transport. The corresponding plans for the pipeline route and the financing framework conditions are currently under political discussion. Our aim is to ensure that eastern Germany is integrated into the new hydrogen infrastructure in a smart and efficient way via ONTRAS. ONTRAS is already converting the first 25 kilometres of pipeline in Saxony-Anhalt to hydrogen. In addition, the safe and reliable operation of the natural gas-based transmission network naturally remains a top priority."

Polk expressed his gratitude to outgoing Managing Director Uwe Ringel: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Uwe Ringel once again. As part of the management team since 2006, he has steered the direction of the company and played a key role in ensuring that ONTRAS is an indispensable player for security of supply in eastern Germany, not only today but also with a view to a climate-neutral future."

Schmidt was Managing Director of Stadtwerke Energie Jena-Pößneck GmbH from 2021 until his move to ONTRAS. He had previously held various management positions in the energy industry since 2002. His predecessor Uwe Ringel had been on the company's management board since ONTRAS was founded in 2006, initially responsible for the Grid Marketing division and since 2010 for the Operations and Safety division. As a proven specialist and courageous leader, Ringel has rendered outstanding services to the transformation of the company and the ONTRAS grids towards renewable energies.

In addition, Ringel contributed his expertise for many years to several DVGW committees and technical advisory boards of the German Fuel Institute and TÜV Süd. Mr Ringel began his career in 1984 as a graduate engineer for gas supply technology in the dispatching department of today's VNG AG.

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