Eva Mayr-Stihl, a businesswoman and philanthropist, died on April 9, 2022. Mayr-Stihl was a dedicated entrepreneur who was instrumental in the success of STIHL and spent 33 years guiding the family-owned business as a member of its senior management team. Throughout her many years of service on the Advisory Board and the Supervisory Board, she kept close watch over the strategic direction of the company.
Strong growth and internationalization
Mayr-Stihl joined her father's company in 1960. With her educational background in business administration and linguistics, she took on responsibility for advertising and market research at the family-owned enterprise. Her expertise and drive to assume a leading role at the company quickly bore fruit, when she and her three siblings were made limited partners in 1961. Two years later, her father gave her the power to represent the firm and enter into transactions on its behalf. After her father's death in 1973, Mayr-Stihl became deputy chairwoman of the board of management, placing her in charge of finance and controlling starting in 1975. When she joined STIHL, the outfit employed 740 people and generated an annual revenue of EUR 12.8 million. Under her leadership, she and her brother Hans Peter Stihl helped the family-run business evolve into an international group of companies with a steadily expanding product line and production sites in Germany, the United States, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, China, and the Philippines. In 2002, Mayr-Stihl and the family shareholders withdrew from the concern's business operations. Following the appointment of an Executive Board outside the control of the family, she joined the STIHL Advisory Board.
During her time at the helm, Mayr-Stihl focused her attention on monitoring the company's finances. Hans Peter Stihl described his sister's role on STIHL senior management team as "the voice of reason" who provided "a necessary sense of balance": "Whenever I had too high-flying plans for investment, which would happen occasionally, she would bring me back down to earth." Stihl's time-consuming commitment to various German business associations would hardly have been possible without his sister, who would often step in for him and take on additional duties at the company. The two shared an office for many years, helping forge a deep bond.
Keen sense of responsibility toward society and a sustainable world
The second mainstay in Mayr-Stihl's life was her work as a philanthropist. In 1986, she and her husband Robert Mayr established the Andreas Stihl Foundation, a nonprofit organization that would be renamed the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation in 2004. The foundation was set up to finance projects in the fields of animal welfare, education, science, research, the arts, and culture. Today, the institution supports a variety of programs, including an endowed professorship for forest genetics at the University of Freiburg and a research group on recyclable material cycles. Every two years, the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation also teams up with forestry departments at German universities to organize the German Forest Science Award. To date, the organization has donated over 38 million euros to support causes in line with its mission: "Our credo is to work for a better world, in which physical and mental health, as well as a strong sense of sustainable responsibility for the environment, are seen as important values by all citizens."
On November 11, 2009, Mayr-Stihl received the Konrad Adenauer Foundation's Social Market Economy Award at St. Paul's church in Frankfurt am Main. In 2011, she received the 1st Class Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and became the first woman to receive the key to the city of Waiblingen. In 2019, Mayr-Stihl was named an Honorary Senator of the University of Freiburg.
The people of STIHL and their families are deeply saddened by the death of Mayr-Stihl.