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Hermann Hager, one of the great entrepreneurial personalities of the post-war period,
has died at the age of 85.
In Hermann Hager, the state of Saarland, as well as neighbouring France, has lost one of its great entrepreneurial personalities. Herman Hager, who was born in Ensheim in 1928 and lived in Obernai, Alsace, with his family for many years, described himself as a resident of France by choice.
As a businessman, he demonstrated a transnational manner of thought and action for decades. In 1955, the brothers Hermann and Oswald Hager, together with their father Peter, founded Hager oHG, elektrotechnishe Fabrik in Ensheim. In the mid-1950s, after he had completed his studies at engineering college in Bingen and passed his examination as a mechanical engineer, the factory grounds in Ensheim became the nucleus of what is now the globally-active Hager Group. Hermann and his brother complemented each other from the start. Hermann the technician and Oswald the businessman were ideally equipped to prevail in the tough competitive struggle within the industry. The selective acquisition of further companies and their skilful integration into the group culminated in Hager becoming the leader in the field of electrical installation solutions in the structural engineering sector.
After the Saarland became integrated into the Federal Republic of Germany, the foundation of Hager in Obernai, Alsace, in 1959 was the deliberate and obvious step towards setting up a second strategic pillar. Right up until his retirement, Hermann headed the French company as président directeur géneral.
The decision to cross the border to Obernai, where Hermann Hager is an honorary citizen and lived with this family for a number of years, marked the beginning of his strong ties to Alsace, which lasted until the end of his life. He often described himself as French, having adopted France as his home country and he invited friends and business associates to his hotel “A la Cour d’Alsace”, which he opened in 1987, whenever the opportunity arose.
1959 was a very special year for Hermann Hager, also in his personal life. He married Luise Fichtner, who gave birth to the couple’s first child in the following year.
The focal point of Hermann Hager’s world was always his family, with three children and, ultimately, nine grandchildren. He was passionately dedicated to all of them.
Although Hager Group now employs 11,400 people at 22 production sites in 11 countries, the company from Ensheim can justifiably be described as a real family-run business. The commercial approach displayed by the brothers Hermann and Oswald Hager always put people first. Respect for their employees and encouragement of each and every individual were essential elements of their corporate culture right from the start.
Until he stepped down from his position, Hermann Hager, who was shaped by German virtues and influenced by his French lifestyle, always strove to make products better and working processes more accommodating.
The fact that the two brothers were able to share responsibility and place trust in the subsequent generation made the company’s successful generational changeover possible.
Until recently Hermann Hager, the hunting enthusiast and amateur pilot, could still be seen navigating an aircraft through the skies.
But even when he was above the clouds, Hermann remained down-to-earth and always firmly rooted in the Saar region and Alsace. In his home town of Ensheim, as a devout Christian he always got involved in social issues if a helping hand was required. For the most part, quietly and without any fuss, he helped local clubs and other organisations, as well as former employees of the company.
Hermann Hager was also one of the driving forces behind the “Peter-und-Luise-Hager-Stiftung”, a foundation named after his parents which since 2010 has taken up the cause of promoting science and research, education, the arts, culture and social involvement.
Hermann Hager passed away surrounded by his family on 25th March 2014. As a person and as an entrepreneur, he will always remain indelibly in the memory of his family and those who worked for him.
For those who wish to pay their respects to the family or the company, they may do so at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org