Farewell to the Grand Dame of the heavy-haulage industry
It is with great sadness that we at Goldhofer Aktiengesellschaft announce the loss of the company’s long-serving principal Karoline Goldhofer-Prützel. The Grand Dame of the heavy-haulage industry passed away in the middle of July at the age of 89.
“The proprietress was an outstanding individual. She was well liked and highly esteemed not only by our employees but also by our customers, suppliers and partners. Over the last sixty years, Karoline Goldhofer-Prützel has defined the spirit of the company, and each one of us is duty-bound to maintain that spirit in the years to come,” says Stefan Fuchs, CEO of Goldhofer Aktiengesellschaft.
Karoline Goldhofer-Prützel’s ability to identify with her Goldhofer team is reflected in the fact that she made a point of personally congratulating employees celebrating long years of service with the company and shaking hands with every employee going into full or partial retirement. Following the reorganization of Goldhofer as a publicly traded company in 2000, Karoline Goldhofer-Prützel, as the sole shareholder, transferred all her shares to the newly created Alois Goldhofer Foundation in 2001. “With this far-sighted and selfless decision, our principal guaranteed the long-term existence of the company and the employment it provides. She saw that step as her personal way of saying thank-you to the company’s loyal employees,” says Franz Bilmayer, CFO of Goldhofer Aktiengesellschaft, which has remained a family business until this day.
Following her marriage to the company’s founder Alois Goldhofer, Karoline Goldhofer – a native of the Rhineland – started work at the company in the areas of finance and apprentice training, which was always a subject dear to her heart. After her husband’s sudden death in 1981, Karoline Goldhofer found herself in sole charge of the company. With the help of advisors and her second husband, Dr. Hans-Hermann Prützel, whom she married in 1985, she succeeded in developing the company into a world market leader for transport equipment for the heavy-haulage industry.
Strategically, her most important contributions were the decisions to reorganize Goldhofer Fahrzeugwerk GmbH & Co. KG as Goldhofer Aktiengesellschaft and to transfer all the shares in the company to the Alois Goldhofer Foundation, of which she was the chairperson. In 2011, the Foundation, which provides financial support for science and research, education, and cultural institutions and charities, founded the Karoline Goldhofer Kolleg to offer continuous education and vocational training for young people. For her great social commitment and entrepreneurial vision, Karoline Goldhofer-Prützel was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit in 1994.