Tuesday, November 15th 2016
In what is an unexpected piece of news, TechPowerUp learned from multiple sources both inside and out of the company that EK Water Blocks have had an estrangement from the majority of their top management including their CEO of over four years. This is an extremely important personnel change that can affect the landscape of the PC DIY water cooling market given the brand presence that EKWB has. We contacted said group including Mark Tanko, the CEO, Niko Tivadar, the CTO, and Andrej P. Škraba, the Head of Marketing, who confirmed they are all no longer affiliated with EKWB and they provided a statement seen below. We were also able to confirm this directly from the owner/founder of the company who is currently acting in the CEO role, and who has also provided a statement as seen past the break.
We can confirm that there has been leadership change at EKWB. As a result core management team consisting of CEO, CTO and Head of Marketing has left the company. We respect the decision of the owner to go in different direction. Our views on how to further develop and grow the niche and company were not compatible anymore. - Mark Tanko
At this point, we contacted EKWB for clarification and were answered by Edvard König himself who founded the company over a decade ago. He acknowledged the contributions of everyone who parted ways, and confirmed he is acting as the CEO with support from others who have remained with the company since its inception. The author's understanding was that EKWB's day-to-day operation was handled primarily by those no longer with the company and thus a chain of emails followed asking about the company's vision and how this would affect what is arguably the largest brand in this niche market today. In particular, EKWB had taken upon themselves to expand beyond PC DIY water cooling with copper-based components and released a quick-connect system-based AIO cooler system (EK-XLC Predator) and an all-aluminum, lower cost sub-brand titled EK Fluid Gaming. The former went EOL earlier this year, with a replacement "MLC" system announced in January but without release yet and the latter had only just come to market when this news broke out. Noting this is a sensitive topic, we received a statement in return from EKWB which is seen below:
CHANGES IN EKWB: New management and new executionIt is possible these products were in development and slated for release prior to the personnel change, but knowing there is a concrete plan to fulfill announcements helps soothe some fears no doubt. Statements and PR aside, it remains puzzling what the specific differences in company vision were when the company was seemingly having some of its best years yet. For what it is worth, at least based on my communication with the new team so far, things appear to be settling down to a rhythm again with new additions to the company happening, including PC modder Daniel "B Negative" Harper who himself had a short stint with the company earlier. Time will tell how things end up, and also where the estranged group find themselves next, all of which we will definitely keep an eye on.
Fast growing company EKWB has new CEO and CTO. Executive powers were taken over by Edvard König, founder and owner, and Matjaz Krc, his business partner from the start, business angel and veteran in turnaround management. The reason behind owners decision was that views on execution of company's vision grew apart and changes were necessary for future growth and adaptation to new and fast market challenges. The company has currently 90 employees, from that 15 people in top and middle management and 7 in R&D.
Changes are opening the door for faster execution and more reliable launch of new products which was one of the biggest complaints from the market. Biggest changes are happening in two main areas: R&D and communication. The former needs to improve and that is why it is in revision and development. Regarding R&D we want to point out that the development team is already strong and EKWB is in the middle of its expansion - internally and with external partners - which will considerably accelerate the pace of development of new products. Strict project management will be put in place to manage time plans accordingly. EKWB's main advantage and basis for company's success was always the whole team and this is our core and pride. EKWB is putting a lot of effort in creating environment where the world's top talent can do the best work of their lives.
So, what is new at EKWB? At the moment everything goes according to project plans. There will be a lot of new exciting products for our users launched. Let us just share this year's launches, most of them will come already until end of November:
- Long awaited EK MLC Phoenix is set to launch until 24th of November in a limited edition version.
- EK-KIT A240R - Fluid Gaming expansion kit with Vega Full Cover water block until end of this month.
- EK-AC Radeon Vega Fluid Gaming expansion full cover water block
- EK-M.2 NVMe Heatsink Red, Blue, Green, Purple
- EK-FB ASRock X299 RGB Monoblock (Fits 5 motherboards!)
- EK-FB GA X399 GAMING RGB Monoblock
- EK-FB MSI X399 GAMING PRO CARBON RGB Monoblock
- EK-FB ASRock X399 RGB Monoblock