Hans Peter Stihl will be celebrating his 80th birthday on the 18th of April. He is advisory board chairman of STIHL Holding AG & Co. KG and supervisory board chairman of STIHL AG. He will be resigning from both these positions on the 30th of June this year. His son, Dr. Nikolas Stihl, will then succeed him as chairman of the advisory and supervisory boards. Hans Peter Stihl remains general partner. His sister, Eva Mayr-Stihl, continues as deputy chairman of the advisory board. In 2002, Stihl and his brother and sister retired from the board of STIHL AG and transferred operative management of the company to a non-family executive board.
Strong growth and globalisation of the company
In 1960, Hans Peter Stihl joined the company founded by his father Andreas Stihl. When his father passed away in 1973, Hans Peter Stihl became the sole general partner. At that time the company employed 2,500 men and women and had an annual turnover of DM 220 million. Under Stihl's leadership, the family company has grown into an international group with manufacturing plants in Germany, the United States, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria and China. He was also the driving force behind the steady expansion of the product line. Today, the STIHL group achieves an annual sales volume of 2.36 billion euros with some 12,000 employees. It distributes its products in more than 160 countries through a worldwide network of 32 wholly owned sales and marketing subsidiaries, 120 independent importers and some 40,000 servicing dealers.
High responsibility vis-à-vis the workforce
"Responsibility, fairness and enthusiasm are the engine of our business success. Our employees are the company's most valuable capital," says Hans Peter Stihl. It is therefore important to him to fulfil his social responsibility and allow the workforce to participate in the company's success. STIHL is one of the industry's forerunners in this respect. The voluntary fringe benefits go well beyond those collectively agreed with the unions. They range from inexpensive meals in an excellent works canteen to bonuses such as the merit payments and the option to subscribe to shares in the company in the form of participating rights. The company pension scheme has a history of more than 70 years. Members of the staff who have been with the company for 25, 40 and 50 years celebrate their anniversaries with their relatives, superiors, colleagues, the executive board and the Stihl family. In addition, there are traditional festivities for the staff, company anniversaries and functions for pensioners.
Many years in honorary offices
Apart from his business activities Hans Peter Stihl was always very engaged in honorary positions. He was president of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHT) from 1988 to 2001. As a staunch proponent of the social market economy he considered good governance as the guiding principle for economic policy activities. Stihl demanded a reduction of subsidies, curtailment of the state's influence, tax system reforms, a demographically sound social security system and privatisation of government functions. During his DIHT presidency, Stihl advocated strong self-management of the economy; he extended the worldwide network of bilateral chambers of commerce considerably.
When Stihl resigned his top post with the DIHT organisation in 2001, he was named honorary president of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) and the Stuttgart Region Chamber of Industry and Commerce, whose president he had been from 1989 to 2001. From 1973 to 1988 he was a member of the board of the Federation of the Baden Württemberg Metal Industry, and its chairman for the last eight years of that period. In this connection he was also vice president of the Federation of German Employers' Associations in the Metal and Electrical Engineering Industries. Since September 2002 Hans Peter Stihl has represented the Republic of Singapore as Honorary Consul and as Honorary Consul-General since August 2004 in the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland Palatinate and Saarland.
Work on supervisory and advisory boards
In addition to his entrepreneurial and honorary commitments Hans Peter Stihl was also on numerous supervisory boards and served as an adviser. He was, for example, a member of the supervisory boards of IBM Deutschland GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, Südwestbank AG and the IKB Industriebank AG. From June 1995 to mid-2006 Stihl was an associate of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG in Stuttgart. He was second vice- chairman of the supervisory board of the Landesgirokasse in Stuttgart from 1995 to 1997, after being chairman of its board of trustees for 8 years. Since 1999, Stihl has been a member of the advisory board of the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg. He sat on the general advisory board of the Allianz insurance companies in Munich from 1988 to 2003 and was a member of the central advisory panel of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt am Main.
In 1982, Hans Peter Stihl was awarded the 1st Class Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, he received the Grand Order of Merit in 1992 and Grand Order of Merit with Star in 2002. Stihl is a bearer of the Grand Gold Medal of Honour with Star of the Republic of Austria. In 1995, he was awarded the Baden-Württemberg Industry Medal, in 2001 the Order of Merit and, in 2007, the Staufer Medal in Gold, and the Order of Merit of Rhineland Palatinate in 1987. The national association of craftsmen awarded Stihl its Craftsmen Medal in Gold in 2001. The Stuttgart Chamber of Industry and Commerce presented him with the Merkur Prize in 1997, the Stuttgart Regional Forum awarded him the "Regionaut" prize in 2001 (renamed Hans Peter Stihl Prize in 2002) for his services to the Stuttgart region. In 2003, he received the Hanns Martin Schleyer prize for his work in strengthening and promoting the principles of a free society. In 2005, Hans Peter Stihl was inducted into Manager Magazine's Hall of Fame. On November 11, 2009 he and his sister Eva Mayr-Stihl were presented with the Konrad Adenaur Foundation's Social Market Economy Award in St. Paul's church in Frankfurt on the Main.