125 years of Bosch - Invented for life Robert Bosch GmbH and its chairmen

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  • April 14, 2011
  • 125 years of Bosch
  • Factsheet

press release

Robert Bosch (b 1861, d 1942)
Founder and head of the company

Robert Bosch opened his Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering in Stuttgart in 1886, and over the following decades led his company to international success. The effects of his visionary, values-driven, and socially responsible leadership are evident in the Bosch Group to the present day. In 1926 he withdrew from the day-to-day running of the business and passed executive control of the company to the three directors Hermann Fellmeth, Hans Walz, and Karl Martell Wild, under the leadership of Hans Walz.

Hans Walz (b 1883, d 1974)
1942-1963 Chairman of the executors' committee for Robert Bosch's will 1953-1963 Chairman of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management

The son of a schoolteacher from Stuttgart, Hans Walz had a decisive influence on the company's activities for over half a century. First he was Robert Bosch's private secretary from 1912. From 1924 he was a member of the board of what was then Robert Bosch AG. From 1953 to 1963, he was chairman of the board of management, of Robert Bosch GmbH, and finally he was lifelong honorary chairman of Bosch. Under his leadership, Bosch evolved into a global technology company. His achievements included successfully rebuilding Bosch and its international business after the second world war, as well as the divisionalization of the company, a process that began in 1959. Walz also played a leading role in the development of the new corporate constitution, which was adopted in 1964.

Prof. Dr. phil. h. c. Hans L. Merkle (b 1913, d 2000)
1963-1984 Chairman of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management

Hans L. Merkle, who had a background in business and commerce, perpetuated the legacy of his predecessors, Robert Bosch and Hans Walz, by placing special emphasis on strengthening the company's international presence. One important milestone in this respect was in 1973, when Bosch established its first new U.S. manufacturing plant since the second world war. Merkle was also responsible for the company's diversification into packaging technology and industrial technology, including pneumatic and hydraulic engineering, as well as the move into telecommunications in 1982. Hans L. Merkle was chairman of the supervisory council of Robert Bosch GmbH from 1984 to 1988, and was made its lifelong honorary chairman in 1988.

Prof. e. h. Dr. phil. Dr. rer. oec. h. c. Marcus Bierich (b 1926, d 2000)
1984-1993 Chairman of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management

Marcus Bierich, who held a PhD in philosophy, stood at the helm of the Bosch Group for more than nine years. During his time as chairman, activities in telecommunications were first expanded from 1987 onward, then pooled, and finally merged to form the Communications Technology business sector in 1989. But this period is also marked by withdrawal from other areas of business, such as television studio equipment, projectors, and cameras. Bierich continued to widen the group's international presence, spurring entry into the markets of the former Warsaw Pact countries following German reunification. Marcus Bierich was chairman of the supervisory council of Robert Bosch GmbH from 1993 to 2000.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hermann Scholl (b 1935)
1993-2003 Chairman of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management

Hermann Scholl, who holds a university degree in engineering, joined the company in 1962. He worked on electronic automotive applications from the start. He was involved in the development of the Jetronic electronic gasoline-injection system (1967) and the ABS antilock braking system (1978), among other projects. As chairman of the board of management, Scholl above all focused on extending the company's international reach into emerging markets outside Europe. The expansion of activities in Asia, particularly in India, China, and South Korea, has brought lasting benefits in securing the company's innovative strength. Scholl was also responsible for further diversification of the company. In 2001, for instance, Bosch assumed the industrial leadership of Mannesmann Rexroth AG, and merged it with the Automation Technology division to form Bosch Rexroth AG. Hermann Scholl has been a general partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG (RBIK) since 1995 and the chairman of the shareholders' meeting since 2000. On July 1, 2003, he was appointed chairman of the supervisory council of Robert Bosch GmbH.

Franz Fehrenbach (b 1949)
Chairman of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management since 2003

Franz Fehrenbach has been chairman of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management and a partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG since July 1, 2003. His corporate responsibilities include corporate planning, corporate communications with brand management and marketing communication, senior executives, and real estate and facilities. Fehrenbach, a trained industrial engineer who has had roles across the group since 1975, is rigorously driving forward the Bosch Group's strategy of further reducing the company's dependence on automotive business by growing at an above-average rate in the other business sectors. He sees the company's main focal points in innovation, globalization, environmental protection and conservation of resources, and energy efficiency. In all these activities, his aim is to secure the company's long-term existence by tapping into promising product areas and to run the company according to the principles of corporate social responsibility.

125 Factsheet_Bosch_Geschäftsführer - April 14, 2011

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