Mercury Racing President Fred Kiekhaefer has announced he will end his distinctive 22-year career with Mercury Marine at the conclusion of 2012.
Kiekhaefer founded Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Inc. in 1983, and sold that company to Brunswick Corporation in 1990. Brunswick is the parent company of Mercury Marine. With the sale of Aeromarine to Brunswick, Kiekhaefer joined Mercury as president of its Performance Products division.
Kiekhaefer has worked in the marine industry for more than 30 years and will provide consulting services following his departure from Mercury. He will work as a consultant for Mercury through 2014.
“The achievements of Fred Kiekhaefer have been integral to the success of Mercury Marine for two decades and, more specifically, to Mercury Racing,” said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine. “Fred’s genetic association to boating (he is the son of Mercury Marine founder E. Carl Kiekhaefer) was strengthened by an impressive education and a powerful desire and commitment to create the best-performing marine engines.
“Fred has brought many key innovations to Mercury, and his influence will be felt here and throughout the world of boating for many years. On behalf of all Mercury employees, I’d like to thank Fred for his important contributions and wish him the very best in all future endeavors.”
Erik Christiansen, director of engineering at Mercury Racing, has been appointed general manager of Mercury Racing. Christiansen, a 15-year employee of Mercury Marine, has held his current position since 2008. He started his career with Mercury as an engineer in research and development, then became an engineering manager in 2002.
“Erik’s rich experience and intimate knowledge of the programs and market needs will ensure the continuity of Mercury’s leadership in the global high-performance market,” said Schwabero.
Christiansen has led and worked on design and engineering teams that created many of Mercury Racing’s most notable high-performance engines.
As chief engineer, Christiansen headed up a 25-person team that designed and developed Mercury Racing’s QC4 1350hp and 1100hp propulsion systems.
The QC4 engine platform, which can power high-performance boats over 190 mph, was introduced in 2010. Christiansen also was chief engineer for Mercury Racing’s 850hp, 1075hp and 1200hp high-performance sterndrive engines.
Prior to joining Mercury Racing, Christiansen worked on the design team for the Mercury Verado outboard, the world’s first commercially available supercharged outboard.
Christiansen earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University.