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Refrigeration giant Bitzer's chief executive and owner Peter Schaufler dies at age 74

The Bitzer Group has announced the unexpected death of its owner Peter Schaufler, who had managed the company for 36 years and had seen it grow 50-fold

The Bitzer Group, together with the Schaufler Foundation and the Schauwerk Sindelfingen released a joint statement. The groups said they are mourning the loss of Senator Schaufler, who passed away unexpectedly in Salzburg at the age of 74. They said: “As the CEO and company owner, Senator Peter Schaufler managed Bitzer with endless dedication for 36 years and turned the long-standing company into the world’s largest independent manufacturer of refrigeration compressors.”

They said that in that time, Mr Schaufler had grown the company to such an extent that it was 50 times bigger than in 1979.

They said: “When Peter Schaufler took charge of Bitzer in 1979, he systematically gave the company an international focus. He turned the company into a global player and a driver of innovation for the entire refrigeration and air conditioning sector. Bitzer now counts 3,400 employees in more than 90 countries and turnover of 657 million euros. His decisions demonstrated entrepreneurial courage at all times. For example, he founded a joint venture with a Chinese company in Beijing back in 1994.”

The Peter Schaufler era was characterised by values such as hard work, ingenuity and quality, which are now firmly rooted in the Bitzer corporate culture, they said. “His forward-looking business policy and his willingness to rise to challenges allowed him to conquer new markets, and to successfully introduce compressor technologies to the market, such as screw compressors in 1983 and scroll compressors in 2002.”

The Schaufler Foundation is testament to his commitment to the common good, they said. Founded in 2005, the Foundation’s aim was to bring together entrepreneurship, science, research and art.

“Peter Schaufler was also keen to see the advancement of scientific research in the field of refrigeration and air conditioning technology. He therefore created the Bitzer Chair of Refrigeration, Cryogenics and Compressor Technology at the Technical University of Dresden in 2007.

Mr Schaufler and his wife Christiane Schaufler-Münch also made generous donations to welfare institutions and gave the public access to their extensive art collection comprising more than 3,000 pieces at the Schauwerk Sindelfingen from 2010 on, they said.

Mr Schaufler was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2010 for his contributions to the fields of culture and science. He received many awards for his business successes and services to society, including the 2014 Gründerpreis Baden-Württemberg for company founders, in recognition of his life’s work

The family has held a quiet funeral, the company added.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Dave Pearson

    If you haven't heard of Bitzer or been impressed by their business and quality of products then you must have been living under a rock (without aircon or freshfood or youtube)

    Herr Schaufler built a considerable "empire" but his lasting contribution will be the establishment of a durable foundation that will endure for generations, hopefully true to his values.

    Well done Sir.

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