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Manager Dürr at a press event in Stuttgart in December 2019

Photo: Tom Weller / dpa

The Swabian entrepreneur and manager Heinz Dürr has died. Dürr, who became known as the head of AEG and Deutsche Bahn, died unexpectedly at the age of 90 on Monday evening at his home in Berlin, the Dürr family business in Bietigheim-Bissingen near Stuttgart announced. "As an entrepreneur, Heinz Dürr has always thought outside the box and questioned things," said Dürr CEO Jochen Weyrauch. "That made him an extraordinary personality with insatiable curiosity."

After graduating from high school, completing an apprenticeship as a locksmith and studying mechanical engineering, Dürr joined his parents' company at the age of 24, which he transformed from a sheet metal processing company into the world market leader for painting technology and floated on the stock exchange in 1990. The family continues to own 29.7 percent of Dürr AG with more than 20,000 employees.

In the 1980s, Dürr first attracted national attention when, as chairman of the North Württemberg/North Baden employers' association, he negotiated innovative collective bargaining agreements with Franz Steinkühler, then head of the IG Metall district in Württemberg. In 1985, Dürr became head of the ailing electrical company AEG, which he sold to Daimler-Benz AG after restructuring in <> and joined its board of directors.

In 1991, Dürr took over the management of Deutsche Bahn and drove forward the railway reform there for six years. After his retirement from active management, the "multi-purpose manager" headed the Deutsche Bahn Supervisory Board for two years and then the Carl Zeiss Foundation. At Dürr AG, he headed the Supervisory Board for 23 years until 2013.