Helmut Wagner, REHAU founder, dies
January 26, 2021 | 2:45 pm CST
Helmut Wagner, founder of Rehau, who died Sunday, January 24, 2021, at the age of 95.

REHAU announced that the company's founder, Helmut Wagner, died Sunday, January 24, 2021, in Switzerland. He was 95.

A company spokesman said news of the death of the company's popular founding father has moved REHAU employees around the globe. 

"The great sympathy for the passing of our father comes from many regions of the world. We are very touched by this as a family," saidJobst Wagner, president of the REHAU supervisory board. “It shows the great the legacy that Helmut Wagner has left behind as one of the pioneers of modern industry, a courageous creator and unwavering visionary. We will honour the memory of Helmut Wagner by resolutely continuing his impressive work. His entrepreneurial spirit will continue to guide us."

Helmut Wagner was involved in the plastics industry since 1948 and has been credited with being a visionary in the industry. His founding of the company in the city of Rehau, Upper Franconia, Germany, marked the beginning of polymer product manufacturing and the success story of a family-owned company that is still strongly characterized by the pioneering spirit of its founder.

After five decades of successful development, Helmut Wagner handed over the management of the corporation to his sons in 2000: Jobst Wagner became chairman of the supervisory board and Dr. Veit Wagner became vice chairman. The third generation is already active in shaping the family business. In 2015, Rehau city council paid a special tribute to the founder of REHAU, appointing Helmut Wagner as the town's first honorary citizen since the end of the World War II.

Today, REHAU is an independent, privately held company with 20,000 employees at more than 170 locations worldwide. The company manufactures a wide variety of polymer products for divers industries including construction, industrial, and automotive applications. Woodworkers will be most familar with the company's surfacing and edgebanding products.

“We owe this in particular to the vision and courage of Helmut Wagner," said William Christensen, CEO of the REHAU Group. "In deep mourning and sincere gratitude for the achievements of our founder, the REHAU family is especially united in these days."

Helmut Wagner was reported to have died with his family by his side. No cause of death was given.



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William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.