Hyne Group Chief Executive Officer retires after 28 years

by | Jun 5, 2023

Jon Kleinschmidt Hands Over the CEO Reins to Jim Bindon

Jon Kleinschmidt Hands Over the CEO Reins to Jim Bindon

Jon Kleinschmidt, known fondly throughout the business and industry as ‘JK’, officially retires as Chief Executive Officer of Hyne Timber and XLam after 28 years, six months and one week with the company.

Mr Kleinschmidt held the role of Chief Executive Officer for 11 years, having commenced in the business as the Mill Engineer at the Tuan Softwood Mill near Maryborough, Queensland in 1994. Over the last three decades with Hyne Group, he has held many roles from Mill Engineer to Division Engineer, Operations Manager to Divisional Manager, and General Manager Development and Technical Services.

Due to his extensive experience, Mr Kleinschmidt was then asked to take on the position of General Manager Finance and Administration to fill the role with ‘someone who knew the business’. From there he went on to become a joint Chief Executive Officer for 12 months before being solely appointed to the role.

Mr Kleinschmidt attributed much of his success to the many mentors, exceptional team members, experiences and of course, the focus and support from the Hyne family.

“The fact that Hyne is a family business is what attracted me in the first place. The late Warren Hyne was the Managing Director at that time, and he was a legendary industry and business leader,” he said.

“Innovation was key and the word ‘can’t’ did not exist in the Hyne vocabulary. The ‘let’s have a go’ attitude was typified by the Hyne family. As a young, inquisitive engineer, I was inspired and encouraged from the onset.”

“They said you cannot ‘ultra-high temperature’ dry radiata wood. We did. You cannot convert the market to termite-treated timber. We did. Years later, we established the first Cross Laminated Timber plant in Australia, and I am proud of the men and women in our business who continue to drive innovation with creativity and passion,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.

Throughout his tenure, there has been rapid and exponential growth in the use and application of technology in the business. A key development being the step change from visual grading to automated machine grading of the structural framing products produced at both Mills.

There have been highs and lows, challenges and wins over the years and an epic win for Jon was being part of the leadership team that successfully steered the Hyne ship through the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

“Despite the stress and challenge, I look back on the GFC as a high point for me. Many thought that the company could not survive. I made it my mission to ensure that was not the case.”

“We had to completely restructure, sell assets, strip the business back. It was not easy but we came out the other side. Last year, we celebrated our 140th year with exciting announcements of growth and expansion with new partners, James Jones and Sons. And with the further expansion announcement this year with Rocky Point,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.

Mr Kleinschmidt says the industry is benefitting from a renaissance of timber and he looks forward to reading all about further progress in the years to come.

“I thank the Hyne family for their support, the opportunities they have given me and faith they have instilled in me to steer their 141-year-old business for the last 11 years. It has been a privilege. I wanted to retire, leaving the business in a better position than when I took on the Chief Executive Officer role and that is something I can confidently take with me.

“I thank our many customers and key stakeholders who appreciate the quality of products and services we pride ourselves in and work with us to ensure this is continuously improved, working as partners. Thank you for your ongoing support and custom. I wish incoming Chief Executive Officer, Jim Bindon, all the best as I officially hand over and sign off for the last time,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.