Jürgen Thumann has experienced major crises.

The economic and financial crisis fell during his time as President of the influential Federation of German Industries.

After the turbulence on the American real estate market and the collapse of the Lehman Bank, the disaster quickly made its way to the rest of the world.

In one of his last interviews as head of the BDI at the end of 2008, Thumann appealed to politicians in the FAZ to quickly set up rescue packages for companies and for the working population, who should be relieved of the gross through more net.

Words that seem more relevant than ever in view of the current energy crisis.

Sven Astheimer

Responsible editor for corporate reporting.

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Thumann's way to the top of the industry lobby was unusual, as the Westphalian embodied the typical family entrepreneur.

He was born in 1941 in Schwelm, his father ran a steel trade.

In order to follow in his footsteps, he completed a commercial apprenticeship after school.

Shortly after completing his apprenticeship, his father died and Thumann took over the management of the company at a very young age.

BDI President by entrepreneurial career

After marrying his first wife, he joined his in-laws' business.

In 1978 Thumann and a cousin founded the company Heitkamp and Thumann in Düsseldorf, which today specializes in the manufacture of battery components and products for the pharmaceutical industry and has a turnover of around half a billion euros.

At an age when most people retire, Thumann moved to Berlin in 2005.

He succeeded Michael Rogowski as BDI President in 2005 at a time when Germany was just getting back on its feet after the severe crisis at the turn of the millennium.

It was the phase of the first black-red government under Angela Merkel, when political processes were still organized in small groups, which was Thumann's way.

He was seldom perceived as a loud critic of government distribution policies.

After two terms in office, he then cleared the way for his successor Hans-Peter Keitel and moved to the head of the European employers' association Business Europe.

He also remained active on the supervisory board of the steel company Thyssenkrupp.

withdrawal from the public

The death of his wife in 2012 prompted Thumann to withdraw from the front row.

From then on he devoted himself more to his passions such as equestrian sports, since he himself had been a passionate horseman from childhood and even competed with the four-in-hand at major competitions.

His second marriage to Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler, a partner in the automotive supplier of the same name, also attracted public interest.

Thumann never held an official position at Schaeffler, but rather acted as a listener and advisor.

Since then he commuted between Austria and the Rhineland.

The former official has always followed politics with great interest.

Until shortly before his death, Thumann was still having lively discussions with his two daughters about current developments and had clear opinions - for example on Donald Trump's return to the White House.

As has now become known, Jürgen Thumann died on August 11 surrounded by his family.