Obituary Dr.-Ing. Jochen F. Kirchhoff
The KIRCHHOFF Group takes leave of Dr.-Ing. Jochen F. Kirchhoff. Dr.-Ing. Jochen F. Kirchhoff died on Wednesday, 18 December 2019 at the age of 92. In deep mourning, but also with great gratitude, his family and the employees of the KIRCHHOFF Group bid farewell.
Dr. Jochen F. Kirchhoff was an exception. His life was characterized by creative power, determination, sportsmanship, love of music, solidarity with people and especially love of his family. He was not only a successful medium-sized entrepreneur, but also a vehement advocate of the social market economy. He always acted according to the conviction that companies are integrated into a social environment. That is why the workforce was particularly close to his heart. With his personal integrity and clear stance, Dr. Kirchhoff earned respect and esteem in politics as well as respect and recognition from the trade unions. Many who met him felt a friendly bond with him.
Dr. Jochen Friedrich Kirchhoff studied mining and mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Clausthal from 1946 to 1950, followed by a degree in economics at the University of Cologne. In 1953, he was awarded a doctorate in engineering at Clausthal Technical University. He then went to Deutsche Babcock AG, Oberhausen, where he was a member of the Board of Management for six years. He left the company in 1968 to head the family business Stephan Witte & Comp. in Iserlohn, founded in 1785, as owner and managing director (until 1992). From 1993 to 2006, he was Chairman of the Management Board of the KIRCHHOFF Group, Iserlohn, whose Advisory Board and circle of shareholders he had chaired since 2007. Today, the KIRCHHOFF Group consists of the four divisions KIRCHHOFF Automotive, KIRCHHOFF Ecotec, WITTE Tools and KIRCHHOFF Mobility. Together with his children, Dr. Kirchhoff built the group, which has been owned by the family for four generations, into a leading international company with more than 13,500 employees worldwide and a turnover of 2.45 billion euros. KIRCHHOFF Automotive is a development partner of the automotive industry for complex metal and hybrid structures for body-in-white and chassis. With its brands FAUN, ZOELLER, HIDRO-MAK, Superior Pak and FARID, KIRCHHOFF Ecotec is a leading manufacturer of refuse collection vehicles, sweepers and lift systems. The WITTE Tools division is the leading supplier of screwdriving tools in the premium segment. KIRCHHOFF Mobility carries out individual automobile conversions for more mobility.
Dr. Jochen F. Kirchhoff was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Grand Decoration of Honour of the Austrian Order of Merit and the Order of the Marian Cross of the Republic of Estonia.
In addition to his entrepreneurial activities, he was a member of economic committees and associations in a leading position. From 1983 to 2004, he served as President of the North Rhine-Westphalia Employers' Association and from 1983 to 1997 as President of the North Rhine-Westphalia Metal and Electrical Industry Association, then as Honorary President of both associations.