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Florian Heinemann (key Rocket manager and Samwer spouse) walks away to join Project A


In December, VentureVillage reported on a key exodus within the Rocket staff, led by Christian Weiss and Uwe Horstmann (now Project A)  as well as a whole slew of key developers. Now VentureVillage can confirm that the last of the Sawmer's bosom buddies, core manager Florian Heineman, will officially leave Rocket Internet late this month.


Our only question is why he didn't leave sooner. VentureVillage understands that he's been working with Weiss and Horstmann since the near beginning of Project A. So why the hesitation? Maybe it's because Heinemann's married to a member of the Samwer clan.

Rocket says goodbye to what one insider calls "the biggest loss yet"

florian"It's probably the biggest loss yet for Rocket," one Rocket insider tells us (who doesn't wish to be identified). "He's the only one of the guys who've left that was operationally really involved. Uwe and Christian were much less so."

At Rocket, Florian spent his time building up units like eDarling Zalando and TopTarif in the areas of online marketing and product development. He was a key and loyal member of the Rocket unit, having met the Samwers years ago at university.

Before joining Rocket, he served as co-founder and CEO of Just Books/AbeBooks (Amazon exit), as well as serving as business angel in numerous start-ups from the Internet and media sectors, including AdScale, NetMoms, and Trivago Tradoria. Now he's on to the next wing of the journey, joining the ranks of up-and-comer Project A.

"Florian was really important to the Samwers," the insider tells us. "It's a huge insult that he's leaving."

Out with the old, in with the new: Rocket speed

johannes bruder

We were told that Johannes Bruder, formerly an industry manager at Google, will join as Rocket's new manager. His past includes his own startup in 2010, a company called, as well as teaching posts at the Bucerius Law School and the University of Hamburg where he graduated with a degree in economy science.

As for global CTO and COOs, there is Christian Hardenberg - who will begin in April as Rocket’s new global CTO. He’s previously worked as CEO of Metaversum, and has previous experience in BCG as well as in software development. His responsibility will be to coordinate the international teams and construct further decentralized centres.

To lead as Rocket's global COO will be Ferdinand Kalm, who worked as COO of Nespresso controlling the company's supply chain and operations unit.

On Friday, Rocket's 100 employees were informed about the particulars

Another insider warns that the environment will significantly change with Heinemann's departure. "He was the best guy of all of them," the insider tells us, "he was the reasonable one and the only one around who wouldn't drill you."

"Time will tell if Rocket will do as well without him. If it's the machine we think it is, then it won't suffer at all."

For the near future, our eyes will be on Project A, who has compliance with the founders since its inception.

Where will he take it?

 Image credit: flickr user evragasa

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