Screw billionaire Würth: "I'm more worried than ever in my 73 years of work"

Swabian screw billionaire Reinhold Würth fears for prosperity and security in Europe in view of the war in Ukraine.

Screw billionaire Würth: "I'm more worried than ever in my 73 years of work"

Swabian screw billionaire Reinhold Würth fears for prosperity and security in Europe in view of the war in Ukraine. "I'm more worried than I've ever been in my 73 years of work," said the 97-year-old in an interview with the business magazine "Capital". "What's brewing! Are we already in a Third World War? I don't know. But the situation seems almost impossible to solve."

Würth added: "I just hope that in six months everything we've built here will still be there." A next world war is more conceivable than ever in his life. When asked about a possible new Iron Curtain in Europe, he said: "I hope that there is no such curtain on the Atlantic."

Since the outbreak of war, the Würth Group has put its Russian business on hold and is planning to withdraw. The remaining stock is currently being sold, and the Künzelsauers are working with the management on contracts for a management buyout. A decision that was very difficult for him because of his love for Russia and close personal relationships with local employees, as Würth said.

For the first time, three generations of the entrepreneurial family took part in the conversation: In addition to the patriarch himself, his daughter Bettina Würth (60, Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Würth Group) and the two grandchildren Benjamin (41), Sebastian (37) and granddaughter Maria (31), all of whom are also active in the company.

Lighter topics are also discussed, such as Reinhold Würth's passion for letters. "The standard is the letter, that's a tradition for me," says Würth. When a letter comes from him, it is often important or serious. Be it that a number is wrong - or he is not satisfied with a decision. In short: His letters are respected and feared in the company and in the family alike.

In the interview, he also says that he numbers his letters – and reveals how many letters he has written in the seventy years to date: "I'm now at 189,000." His letters deal with both strategic issues and trivial matters - such as empty soap dispensers in a company representative office in Berlin.

Bettina Würth is not continuing her father's letter tradition, as she emphasizes. When asked if she adheres to it in the family, she replied: "For God's sake, no. We've been traumatized enough with this writing of letters."

The head of the advisory board also explains how difficult it was for her to start as a trainee in her father's company. The head of sales at the time, for example, let her know: "I don't need women and certainly not the daughter of the boss."

The Würths are one of the best-known entrepreneurial families in the country. In 1954, at the age of 19, Reinhold Würth took over a screw trade from his father Adolf Würth after his death as a two-man business, which he built up into a billion-dollar company. Today, 83,000 people work for the Würth Group, and sales in 2021 were EUR 17.1 billion.

The company should remain in family hands in the future. "I brought the company into family foundations, so that disputes are actually ruled out. All too often I've seen how beautiful family businesses have suffered as a result of inheritance," said Reinhold Würth.

You can find the interview in the new issue of "Capital".

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