Robert Bosch would be proud of the people running his company today. The 19th century entrepreneur, who founded the German firm 125 years ago and who would have turned 150 on Sept. 23, would be delighted to see the financial results current Bosch Chairman Franz Fehrenbach presented this past year.
He also would be impressed with the integrity and compassion of his 21st century leaders.
There are many reasons why Fehrenbach is the Automotive News Europe Supplier CEO Eurostar.
Bosch’s automotive and non-automotive sales grew 24 percent to 47.3 billion euros ($67.8 billion) last year. The company’s 2010 profit before tax was 3.5 billion euros, resulting in a 7.4 percent return on sales. The company invests heavily in r&d. Last year, this sum was 3.8 billion euros – or 8.1 percent of revenues.
And, mostly, Bosch’s future looks bright. Fehrenbach is confident the company’s total sales will pass 50 billion euros for the first time in 2011 – of which the company’s auto division should have contributed a record 30 billion euros. The executive also expects that Bosch’s total return on sales will remain at 7 percent to 8 percent.
Fehrenbach is pushing the group into new areas, having recently approved a deal with Daimler AG to establish a 50-50 joint venture for electric motors. The new company, EM-motive GmbH, will develop and produce electric motors – also known as traction motors – for electric vehicles.
Fehrenbach started as a trainee at Bosch in 1975. After running the company’s starter and alternator unit and the diesel systems divisions, Fehrenbach was promoted to Bosch’s management board in 1999. He became board chairman in 2003.