Entrepreneur, collector, cosmopolitan, founder: Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. Reinhold Würth turns 85
Künzelsau. After the sudden death of his father, Reinhold Würth took over the family screw business at the age of 19, developing the two-man operation into a global market leader in the sale of assembly and fastening materials. Today, the company generates an annual sales volume of over EUR 14 billion and employs a workforce of more than 78,500 around the world. For Reinhold Würth, gratitude, humility and humbleness are the key values that characterize his corporate success. On 20 April 2020, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group’s Family Trusts will turn 85. He continues to go to the office and record letters on the Dictaphone.
“I have never considered my job to be a burden. I always saw it as more of a hobby, something I enjoy and cherish.” – Reinhold Würth
A stately and festive venue had been organized for the birthday celebration. But then came the corona pandemic. Reinhold Würth called off the festivities at the Group’s headquarters in Künzelsau-Gaisbach out of a sense of responsibility for his guests, family and friends: “If everyone plays their part without exception, we can counteract the spread of the virus. We will be able to defeat this virus.” Once the dust has settled, the businessman hopes to make up the celebration.
In fact, a double anniversary is on the calendar for 2020: Reinhold Würth is turning 85 and the Würth company is celebrating its 75th anniversary. A grand week of festivities was planned for June but will also be postponed.
Würth advocates unity
For many years, Reinhold Würth himself was a sales representative for his own products, first with his father and then alone. “I learned a great many things from him,” he says to this day, grateful for the time together that shaped the man he is today. A profession that is more of a calling than a job. Reinhold Würth has always considered customer relationships to be the basis for his corporate success. That is why maintaining and fostering those relationships are the most important components of day-to-day business on the sales force. A personal relationship represents the heart of every partnership with Würth.
“This all would never have been possible without so many hard-working employees.” – Reinhold Würth
A set of values that holds
From the very beginning, he has been committed to his roots and his home region of Hohenlohe. This is demonstrated by the Würth Foundation’s wide-spread involvement in the fields of art and culture, research and science, and education and training. Reinhold Würth established this foundation 33 years ago together with his wife Carmen. They also provide support for social projects, such as the integration of refugees and migrants. In addition, this commitment is reflected in the endorsement of sports as a sign for what can be achieved through passion and sheer will. At Würth, commitment is ingrained in the corporate culture, which is based on a deep-rooted set of values. Against the current backdrop in particular, it is clear that respect, appreciation, care, pragmatism, consideration, and even a simple “thank you” are not going out of style. On the contrary, these values are what will navigate our community through these difficult times.
“When I look at the company, I am filled with a sense of joy, satisfaction and gratitude.” – Reinhold Würth
He is passionate about art, literature and music
Reinhold Würth is a passionate art collector and a devoted champion of culture. This passion was ignited during the late 1960s. After almost 60 years, his collection contains more than 18,000 works of art from over 500 years of art history, and it is still growing. In 2017, in the wake of inaugurating Carmen Würth Forum, he prompted the foundation of Würth Philharmoniker, the new philharmonic orchestra in the region. His top priority has always been to share his inspiration from art, music and literature with his employees and with the public at large. In the summer, Museum Würth 2 will be opened as an extension of Carmen Würth Forum, representing the company’s fifth art museum in Germany and 15th art gallery in Europe. Works of art by Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, Max Beckmann, and other pieces from the Würth Collection will have a permanent location in Hohenlohe: with free admission, as always.
Prof. Dr. Hermann Parzinger, President of Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation)
“He was scheduled give a speech. He will now extend his congratulations to the businessman in writing: “Reinhold Würth has proven that commercial thinking can go hand in hand with a strong passion for art. Both, but especially the great success of his business activities, serve as the basis for a patronage that benefits society as a whole.”
Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg
“Foresighted is a characteristic that defines Reinhold Würth in all of his endeavors. In his 65 years as boss, he led his family company with foresight onto the international stage. With foresight, he acquired art and opened his own art galleries one by one. Museum Würth 2 represents the fifth gallery at the company’s headquarters in Künzelsau and the fifteenth in Europe. Reinhold Würth’s philanthropist impulses are remarkable and extend far beyond the region, greatly enriching the State of Baden-Württemberg. His trademark is developing visions and inspiring others to follow them. His passion for art is sure to have benefited his professional life as well.”
Bettina Würth, Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Würth Group
“First and foremost, my family and I are grateful to him and we have the utmost respect for his life’s work: With strong conviction, passion and perseverance, he established a global corporation and laid a sound foundation for the Würth Group. As his daughter, I am particularly happy to be celebrating his 85th birthday with him in the best of health. Especially in light of the current circumstances, we are suddenly much more aware of how valuable a commodity that really is.”
Robert Friedmann, Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group
“Mr. Würth built up this company on a very solid foundation. The underlying system of values based on a down-to-earth mentality, humility and gratitude has been in place for decades and is embodied by Professor Würth better than anyone else. This distinct culture of values is what gives us the strength, energy and most of all solidarity to be a strong partner both for our employees and for our customers in times like these.”
Norbert Heckmann, Chairman of Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG
“It is simply astounding what Mr. Würth has done with his father’s two-man operation in such a short amount of time. He has dedicated his life to the company, to his employees, and to our customers. Without him, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG would never have achieved the milestone of 2 billion euro in sales. We admire him and are eternally grateful to him for this!”
About Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. Reinhold Würth
Adolf Würth, the father of Prof. Reinhold Würth, founded Adolf Würth GmbH Co. KG in Künzelsau in 1945. In 1949, 14-year-old Reinhold Würth started his commercial training at his father’s screw business. After the early death of his father in 1954, he took over the business at the age of 19 and expanded it from there. Starting in the years of reconstruction in postwar Germany, he has turned the former two-man business into a globally operating company with more than 400 companies in over 80 countries and with more than 78,500 employees. According to its preliminary annual financial statement, the Group achieved record sales yet again in 2019 with over EUR 14.2 billion, living up to its reputation as the global market leader in the sale of assembly and fastening materials.