Sapherior is a specialized management consultancy for the chemical, polymer and life science industries. Our team members have many years of experience in operational areas of the chemical, polymer and life science industries, in consulting and in various management positions. This wealth of experience enables us to develop strategies and concepts for our clients that are sustainable and easy to implement. In order to expand our expertise, we have built up a network of freelancers and cooperation partners. By pooling our competencies, we can offer our clients a comprehensive range of consulting services covering all areas. From strategy consulting to portfolio optimization to M&A - Sapherior is your competent partner.

TEAM: Our team combines broad operational experience with many years of consulting expertise in the chemical, polymer and life science industry

Dr. Walter Schweeberg

CEO & Founding Partner

Dr. Walter Schweeberg holds a PhD in chemistry and has extensive operational and strategic management experience. In his 18 years with Bayer, he gathered experience as production manager in Germany and the United States and later as BU-head and as head of corporate strategy and in-house consulting. Since 2003 he is professional consultant for the chemical and life science industries and highly appreciated for his operational background. As Managing Partner of Stratley, Dr. Walter Schweeberg was awarded the "hidden champion" of consulting for the chemical industry. With the sale of Stratley in 2014, he brought his expertise to KPMG. For the keen tennis player and fan of FC Barcelona, early retirement is not attractive. Therefore, Sapherior benefits from Walter Schweeberg’s deep and comprehensive knowledge of the companies and markets of the chemical and life science industries.

André Thieme

Founding Partner

André Thieme holds a degree in business administration and has been developing solutions for strategy and organization issues worldwide since 2004, of which he has been working for global players in the chemical & life science industries for over 10 years. André Thieme has worked both as an external consultant, including at Stratley, and in corporate development. As a supervisory board member, he is also familiar with the fields of conflict that strategic recommendations demand of his clients, not least regarding the issues when dealing with sustainability and digitalization. André Thieme is married and has two children. If time permits, he enjoys hunting in his spare time or can be found stand-up paddling on the Alster.

Dr. Ernst Grigat


Dr. Ernst Grigat holds a doctorate in chemistry and has unique experience in the concept and operations of industrial parks. In over 13 years at Bayer, he was researcher, production manager and CTO of a large subsidiary in the US. With the spin-off of LANXESS, he was assigned Managing Director and carved the Antwerp site out from the Bayer Group. Back in Germany, Dr. Ernst Grigat was a co-designer and the head of the CHEMPARK sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen for more than ten years. He subsequently built up the business structures of the newly established regional association Metropolregion Rheinland. Since 2017, the customers of his consulting firm Chemiepark Consult e.K. have benefited from profound knowledge of the structures and processes of successful sites. This knowledge and his expertise are part of the Sapherior portfolio as of July 2020. Dr. Ernst Grigat is married and father of four adult children. For him, relaxation means long-distance running. A half-marathon every week helps him to chill out and sort his thoughts.

Dr. Heiko Maas


Dr. Heiko Maas holds a PhD in chemistry and has many years of experience in the chemical industry. In more than 24 years at BASF, he held various positions and worked at different sites, including Ludwigshafen and Hong Kong. After starting as a laboratory manager and product manager, gaining experience as operations manager and business manager for inorganic specialties, he went to Hong Kong for a good four and a half years as Director Strategic Development Asia Pacific. After returning and gaining further operational experience in pigments, his path led him to Operations and finally to the position of Vice President Operations Performance Chemicals in Europe. In 2022, he joined Sapherior and complements Sapherior's service portfolio with his extensive experience and know-how. Dr. Heiko Maas is married and the father of a son. As a balance to his desk chair, he seeks sporting activities in the fresh air - preferably running, climbing or mountaineering.

Birgit Schweeberg


Birgit Schweeberg studied economics in Munich and is married to chemical expertise. As Chief Financial Officer she takes care of the company well-being, keeping the partners' backs free for project work at the customers. For almost 15 years she managed training and organizational development projects for the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, mostly in African countries. She now appreciates settling down at the Sapherior headquarters in Hamburg, which gives her more opportunity to attend choir rehearsals and to participate in concerts in the old and new Hamburg landmarks, the St. Michaelis church and the Elbphilharmonie.

Dr. Judith Schulze-Schlarmann

Business Development

Dr. Judith Schulze-Schlarmann is in charge of Business Development Coordination. She supports the Sapherior team in acquisition activities as well as in research and marketing, and she consolidates the know-how of the company. She holds a PhD in Chemistry and started out in the Sales and Marketing department of specialty chemicals, followed by Business Development Management for an international operating chemical company and in consulting. Dr. Judith Schulze-Schlarmann is married and has two children. In here scarce free time, she enjoys literature and classical music.

SUPERVISORY BOARD: Sapherior Supervisory Board members contribute highest level industry and consulting experience

Manfred Vehreschild

Chairman of the Supervisory Board

Manfred Vehreschild has bottom up experience in the finance management of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. After completing his commercial training, he began his career in internal auditing at Bayer. The auditor soon started to work in M&A projects and little later became the CFO for Bayer subsidiaries in Munich and Toronto. Back in Leverkusen, Manfred Vehreschild conducted the introduction of SAP FI/CO at Bayer and implemented the transparency regulations following the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The responsible for the Legal Entity Accounting for the entire Bayer group was promoted to the Board of Management of Bayer Healthcare AG as CFO for Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health, Diagnostics and Animal Health. The overall responsibility for the realignment of The Bayer group after the spin-off of Covestro completed a great career. In the current phase of his life, the outstanding expert for controlling, finance and accounting, M&A, IT, change management, project management, corporate compliance, risk management and restructuring enjoys travelling, spending more time riding his motorbikes and supporting the development of Sapherior.

Steve Gunders

Member of the Supervisory Board

Steve Gunders joined Touche Ross & Company as a Chartered Accountant after completing his MBA at the University of Chicago. After the merger with Deloitte, he put financial consulting on a growth course and coordinated the realignment of the European consulting organization from Frankfurt and London. Back in the USA, he was Deloitte's key account manager for the world's largest private equity fund KKR and its investments. When he retired from Deloitte, Steven Gunders joined the Stratley Strategic Council. Today he is the driving force and acting CEO of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) under the leadership of Michael Bloomberg. The New Yorker now lives in San Francisco and at Lake Tahoe, but you never know if you can catch him there or rather in London or Hong Kong or for Sapherior in Hamburg.​

Dr. Harald P. Wulff

Member of the Supervisory Board

Dr. Harald P. Wulff studied chemistry in Marburg and Heidelberg and received his doctorate summa cum laude from Georg Wittig, a later Nobel Prize winner. With his first research assignments at Shell and BASF, Dr. Harald P. Wulff began commuting across the Atlantic, and he never stopped doing so. Changing to Henkel turned the experienced researcher into a successful top manager who first implemented the integration of Emery in the United States and then put the Group's chemicals division back on track for growth in Germany. With the sale to private equity funds, he became Chairman of the Board of Management and later of the Supervisory Board of Cognis. He already contributed his experience in the positioning of private equity portfolio companies to the Stratley Strategic Council. Today Dr. Harald P. Wulff lives in California, from where he commutes regularly to Germany (not only) for Sapherior.

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