Story 164 – 1820 – People Innovation Business model

Record-setting continuity in leadership

In over 200 years there were only seven eras of leadership

Hardly any other company with such a long history can look back on such a small number of business leaders as Wieland. This constancy has ensured continuity in all business processes - and continues to build confidence for our employees and business partners.

Wieland has a special characteristic that is truly exceptional: In the 200 years of its existence, the company has been led by just nine people. If you take into account that some of them were jointly at the top, there have only been seven leadership eras. This unusual continuity is an impressive indication of Wieland's solidity and performance, but also of the bond and identification of the leadership personalities with the company. Each of these men - and women! - shaped Wieland in their own way and with important milestones. Continuity in the leadership team also means reliability and the opportunity for future-oriented planning and action. In this sense, the small number of executives in the boardroom has been an important factor in Wieland's great success - in the past, today and tomorrow.

Key personalities and milestones in seven management eras:

Philipp Jakob Wieland

Philipp Jakob Wieland
1820 – 1873

His greatest merit was that he managed the art and bell foundry through new innovative forming processes into the industrial production of economic goods. By rolling and drawing copper alloys, mainly bronze and brass, Wieland was able to efficiently meet customer requirements.

Philipp Jakob Wieland thus combined his great technical knowledge and his love of metallurgical experimentation with commercial solidity and visionary courage.

In order to use hydropower, he acquired several mills and developed them into production facilities. In this way, both the main plant at that time in the center of Ulm and the new plant in Vöhringen were built - both central factors for the following growth of the company he founded.

Mathilde Wieland

Mathilde Wieland
1873 – 1892

The widow of the company founder ran the company for 19 years after his death in 1873. This alone would have been considerable enough for that time. But Mathilde Wieland succeeded even more: she introduced a variety of social benefits, like the preceding model of today's company pension. She also laid the groundwork for the Wieland Foundation, which supports employees in distress.

She was also very open-minded technically, and the first steam engines and steam hammers were put into operation under her leadership. With her optimistic outlook for the future, she made a considerable contribution to leading the company into the industrial age during economically difficult times.

Philipp J. Wieland and Max R. Wieland

Philipp J. Wieland 1892 – 1919
Max R. Wieland 1892 – 1935

The two brothers were continuing Wieland's growth course consistently and systematically. Philipp J. Wieland, on the basis of his very good technical education, repeatedly provided for important, sometimes groundbreaking innovations. In 1901, for example, he initiated the extrusion process, which he learned about on one of his many journeys of study. The expansion of the plants and their electrification was also accelerated and implemented to a large extent by Philipp J. Wieland.

His brother Max, in accordance with his profound education, was mainly responsible for commercial matters. The strategically important decision to transform the company into a stock corporation was made during his 43 years of service.

As a member of the board of directors of several industry-relevant professional associations, he skilfully represented Wieland's interests at the political and social level. In the 1930s, he prepared the start of production of aluminum alloys.

Karl Eychmüller and Dr. Hans Wieland

Karl Eychmüller 1935 – 1972
Dr. Hans Wieland 1936 – 1972

Member of the board since 1923, Karl Eychmüller became chairman of the board after the death of Max R. Wieland in 1935. He was given the difficult task of leading the company through the period of National Socialism and the Second World War, which he succeeded in doing well under the circumstances - also and especially from an ethical point of view.

After 1945, reconstruction became his greatest challenge. Above all, however, he shaped the image of a responsible, compassionate and non-corruptible company manager who became a "father figure" for the employees.

Dr. Hans Wieland lead the technology sector for 37 years as a member of the executive board. As metallurgist he was responsible for all technical matters and production processes. He was also the one who, in setting up the R&D facility, combined scientific findings with practical experience and laid the basis for modern research and development processes.

Among his merits are also the creation of the metallurgical basis for the start of aluminum production in the 1930s and the introduction of new casting processes in the 1950s.


Dr. Wolfgang Eychmüller

Dr. Wolfgang Eychmüller
1972 – 1999

Dr. Wolfgang Eychmüller followed his father as Chairman of the Executive Board in 1972, when the latter moved to the Supervisory Board. He consistently drove the modernization of the company with major investments.

At the Vöhringen plant, a new copper tube production line was put into operation, rolling capacities were increased and the foundry was expanded. In Ulm, administration and production moved from downtown Ulm to the Donautal industrial estate. At the same time, production was reorganized in a sustainable and cost-efficient manner.

This plant relocation and company acquisitions to increase capacity for rolled products posed exceptional financial challenges.

Dr. Wolfgang Eychmüller succeeded in expanding the circle of shareholders beyond the Wieland family. The company thus received funds which also enabled it to take additional steps towards internationalization: a strip production mill was opened in Chicago, USA. At the same time, cooperation agreements were signed with numerous universities and companies in the USA and Japan to develop new production processes and alloys.

Former and active employees fondly remember Dr. Wolfgang Eychmüller, who was an outstanding personality. He shaped a corporate culture that in many respects still has an impact today.



Harald Kroener

Harald Kroener
1999 – 2017

Harald Kroener became member of the Board of Management in 1988 and, as Chairman of the Board from 1999, was responsible for the expansion of international activities, particularly in Asia. A rolling mill was built in Singapore, the Wieland Group's first production facility in this increasingly important region. A plant for high-performance tubes for refrigeration and air-conditioning applications went into operation shortly afterwards in Shanghai/China.

An important part of his strategy was the acquisition of companies relevant to Wieland in terms of technology and market.

In his era, the Wieland Group experienced a profound transformation of its product portfolio, which focused on the requirements of innovative markets. Semi-finished products for the electronics industry - and thus also new high-performance alloys - became increasingly important. This was made feasible by continuous investment in modern, sophisticated manufacturing processes. One example is the slide bearings division, which was modernized and expanded with extensive research and development work.

In a time of comprehensive changes, such as globalization, digitalization and increased demands on product properties, the development and production processes were being brought to the highest level.


Dr. Erwin Mayr
2017 – today

Dr. Erwin Mayr is fast and consistently developing the Wieland Group into a modern global group. Internationalization, cultural change and sustainability are the focus of attention.

The successful acquisition in 2019 of Global Brass & Copper, the market leader for semi-finished copper products in North America, is the largest step in Wieland's 200-year history. With this milestone in the non-ferrous metal industry, Wieland is significantly expanding its global market leadership.

A new, stringent and modern brand architecture with "wieland" at the center of all now 90 companies and locations strengthens both the internal identification with the company worldwide and the company-wide uniform professional brand image towards customers. The "One Wieland" concept supports globally responsible central functions, worldwide knowledge exchange among the now 9000 employees and efficient growth through standardized platforms.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a central theme in the strategic development of the Wieland Group - concretized by the topics of recycling and energy efficiency, as well as the further expansion of the business segments Engineered Products / Electromobility and Thermal Solutions. This will strengthen Wieland's attractiveness as an employer for future generations and optimally position the Group to further successfully expand its global market leadership.

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Wieland Management and Organization