KNORR-BREMSE: Majority shareholder and long-time Chairman of the Knorr-Bremse executive and supervisory boards Heinz Hermann Thiele died on February 23 at the age of 79.

The company said he was one of Germany’s leading industrial managers. He had joined Knorr-Bremse as a legal clerk in the patent department in 1969, before joining the executive board in 1979 and subsequently building up the group from a medium-sized company in a difficult situation into a profitable and globally successful corporation.

His internationalisation strategy targeted North America and Japan as well as the emerging markets of India, South America, Russia and China. After more than two decades as Chairman of the executive board, he relinquished operational management and moved to the supervisory board as Chairman in 2007. An IPO in 2018 opened the company to the capital market and other investors.

The group now has almost 30 000 employees at more than 100 sites in over 30 countries, with annual sales of around €7bn.

Thiele also founded the non-profit organisation Knorr-Bremse Global Care in 2005, and supported social and scientific initiatives including the Bayern state opera, Lenbachhaus art museum, Deutsches Museum and the Technical University of München.