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Wolfgang Reitzle Edit Profile

engineer , entrepreneur , university professor

Wolfgang Reitzle, German chemicals executive. Recipient Bavarian Earnings/Svc. medal, Prime Minister, Free State of Bavaria, 2007.


Reitzle, Wolfgang was born on March 7, 1949 in Ulm, Germany.


Degree in Engineering, Technology University Munich, 1971. Doctor in Metal Physics summa cum laude, Technology University Munich, 1974. Degree in Economic and Engineering, Technology University Munich, 1975.


In 1971, aged just 22, he became Munich's youngest ever "Diplom-Ingenieur" graduate. In 1974, he received his doctorate in Engineering (Dr-Ing). In 1976, he joined BMW where he would progress to the No.

2 position. He was in charge of product development for more than ten years from 1987, presiding with meticulous attention over the development and launch of a string of successful models. Between 1999 and 1 May 2002, Reitzle was the head of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, overseeing the Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover marques. He let it be known that he left Ford when it became clear that he would not have sufficient control of developing new models through to the production process: the cost containing instincts of fellow director Nick Scheele were destined to ensure that the PAG vehicles would not benefit from his uncompromising approach sufficiently to compete on level terms with market leaders such as Lexus and BMW. When he left Ford, Reitzle denied having been offered a role with General Motors as heir apparent by Bob Lutz, initially taking over responsibility for Opel and Saab: Ford had provided him with sufficient experience of US auto industry corporate culture.

A naval metaphor that he was prepared to place on record was that he "would rather be captain on a destroyer than first officer on an aircraft carrier". He instead quit the car business and became CEO of The Linde Group, at that time a leading manufacturer of Fork-lift trucks and currently the world's largest industrial gas company, joining the board in 2002 and becoming a chairman in 2003. He was replaced at Ford by Mark Fields, who had previously headed up Mazda.


He's since April 29, 2014 Holcim's chairman of the Board and of the Governance & Strategy Committee, Member of the Nomination & Compensation Committee. Reitzle is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Continental AG, and member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Telekom and KION Group.


Married Nina Ruge, 2001. 2 children.

Nina Ruge