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Alfred Berliner

Alfred Berliner (1861–1943)

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Alfred Berliner, undated

The engineer and physicist Alfred Berliner joined Siemens & Halske in 1888 at the recommendation of Hermann von Helmholtz. Assigned to develop the company’s business in the U.S., he began by opening an office to prepare an exhibit for the Chicago World’s Fair. After the establishment of the Siemens & Halske Electric Company of America, he was responsible for the construction of production facilities in Chicago. Berliner returned to Germany in 1893.

 

In 1897, he was appointed a deputy member and, in 1908, a full member of the Managing Board of Siemens & Halske. In this capacity, Berliner played a key role in the merger of the power engineering activities of Siemens & Halske AG with those of Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft, vorm. Schuckert & Co. to form Siemens-Schuckertwerke GmbH. From 1903 to 1912, he was Chairman of the Managing Board of the new company. Alfred Berliner was a member of the Supervisory Board of Siemens & Halske from 1913 to 1938.

Carl Friedrich von Siemens

Carl Friedrich von Siemens (1872–1941)

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Carl Friedrich von Siemens, 1924

Carl Friedrich von Siemens began work at Siemens & Halske in 1899 as an apprentice at company headquarters. Starting in 1901, he held a variety of managerial positions at Siemens facilities in England before being appointed to organize and head the company’s Export Department in Berlin. In 1904, the youngest son of the company’s founder joined the Supervisory Board of Siemens & Halske. He was appointed to the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke in 1909 and Chairman of the Board in 1912.

 

In 1919, Carl Friedrich von Siemens became the first member of the Siemens family to chair the Supervisory Boards of both Siemens & Halske AG and Siemens-Schuckertwerke GmbH. Under his leadership, Siemens increasingly became a "technical holding company." To realize the organization’s aim of achieving both unity and diversity, he fostered its decentralization by carving out individual business areas to form legally independent subsidiaries and equity investments that nonetheless maintained close business, organizational and technological ties. Based on the principal of "only electrical engineering, but the full breadth of electrical engineering," he ensured that all the company’s business activities were directly related to its traditional core areas.

 

In addition to his work at the company, Carl Friedrich von Siemens was also active in the public and political arenas, representing the German Democratic Party in the Reichstag, the German parliament, and holding numerous offices and honorary positions in business, academia and society.

Otto Henrich (1871–1939)

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Otto Henrich, undated

Otto Henrich began his professional career as an engineer at Siemens & Halske’s production facility in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin in 1896. In 1905, he was appointed a deputy member of the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke and a full member in 1908. In 1912/13, Henrich successfully reorganized the company, thereby greatly impressing Carl Friedrich von Siemens, who appointed him Chairman of the company’s Managing Board in 1919. A year later, Henrich was instrumental in founding the Siemens-Rheinelbe-Schuckert-Union, an industry association comprising companies in the heavy industry sector and Siemens as a representative of the processing electrical sector.

 

Otto Henrich left the company in 1921 after entering into a relationship with Tutty Bötzow, the former wife of Carl Friedrich von Siemens.

Carl Köttgen (1871–1951)

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Carl Köttgen, 1925

In 1894, Carl Köttgen began his Siemens career at Siemens & Halske’s Office for Power Transmission in 1894. He was appointed head of the office three years later. In 1905, the electrical engineer was appointed a deputy member of the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke. He designed an electric hoisting machine for the Zollern II mine near Dortmund, Germany, in 1903 and the first reversible electric drive for the Georgsmarienhütte steel mill near Osnabrück, Germany, in 1907. 

 

From 1907 to 1914, Köttgen headed Siemens Brothers’ Dynamo Works in Stafford, England. Following the outbreak of World War I, he was interned in the UK. In 1919, he returned to Berlin, where he first headed the central facility administration of Siemens Schuckertwerke. From 1921 to 1939, Köttgen was Chairman of the company’s Managing Board.

 

He became widely known for his work in technical and scientific associations, serving, among other things, as chairman of the VDE, Germany’s leading society of electrical engineers, from 1926 to 1927 and of the VDI, the Association of German Engineers, from 1929 to 1931. Köttgen was particularly interested in the rationalization of organizations and technologies. Leveraging, among other things, the experience he had gained on a study trip to the U.S., he joined forces with Carl Friedrich von Siemens to help shape the setup phase of the Reichskuratorium für Wirtschaftlichkeit (RKW), the German government’s advisory board on economic matters, starting in 1922.

Rudolf Bingel (1882–1945)

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Rudolf Bingel, undated

The trained machinist and engineer Rudolf Bingel joined Siemens-Schuckertwerke GmbH in 1907. He began his professional career at the company's subsidiary in Mannheim, Germany, where he was appointed to the Technical Managing Board in 1919. Five years later, he was transferred to the parent company in Berlin, where, as a deputy member of the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke, he was appointed head of the company’s Industry Department. In 1927, Bingel was appointed a full member of the Managing Board and, in 1937, its Deputy Chairman. Two years later, he was appointed Chairman of the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke.

 

Rudolf Bingel was particularly innovative and successful in the area of electric drives, combination engineering and electrical marine systems and especially instrumental in fostering the development of diesel and turboelectric drives. 

 

As a prominent representative of the company, Bingel was taken prisoner by the Russian military at the company’s Siemensstadt campus in Berlin in the last days of the war and interned in a camp in Landsberg an der Warthe, Germany, where he died from the effects of incarceration.

Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben

Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben (1886–1970)

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Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben, 1952

Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben joined Siemens & Halske in 1919. Right from the start, he concerned himself with the company’s personnel and social policies. As the head of Carl Friedrich von Siemens' office from 1927 to 1941, he was the latter’s closest colleague and confidant. In 1930, Witzleben was appointed – additionally to his other duties – to head the company’s personnel department. In 1934, he was appointed a deputy member of the Managing Boards of both Siemens parent companies. He was made a full member of the two boards in 1939. In May 1945, he was appointed Chairman of the Managing Board of both companies, serving in this capacity until 1949, when he moved to their Supervisory Boards.

 

Witzleben’s services to Siemens consisted in maintaining the company’s unity and rebuilding it after the end of the World War II. In addition, he advanced the training of junior managers  considerably. 

 

Witzleben was a co-founder of the Baden-Baden Entrepreneurs’ Talks (BBUG) and President of the Deutsches Institut zur Förderung des industriellen Führungsnachwuchses, the German Institute for the Promotion of Young Executives in Industry.

Günther Scharowsky

Günther Scharowsky (1891–1953)

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Günther Scharowsky, undated

Günther Scharowsky joined Siemens-Schuckertwerke in Berlin in 1920. His first position was in the development office of the company’s Industrial Department. In 1938, he was appointed a deputy member of Siemens-Schuckertwerke’s Managing Board. He was appointed a full member of the Board in 1943 and Chairman of the Board in 1949. In 1951, Scharowksy moved to the company’s Supervisory Board, of which he remained a member until shortly before his death in the summer of 1953.

 

Günther Scharowsky’s name is closely associated with the reconstruction of Siemens-Schuckertwerke after World War II. When the electrical engineering company began decentralizing its management in February 1945 due to the imminent occupation of Germany’s capital by Soviet troops, Scharowsky took over the management of the company’s factories in Central Germany, Saxony and Bavaria as well as management of Siemens-Schuckertwerke as a whole. In this role, he paved the way for Siemens’ reconstruction in the university town of Erlangen, Germany, after 1945. Having survived the war largely unscathed, Erlangen was initially the company’s provisional headquarters. It became Siemens’ official headquarters in 1949.

Friedrich Bauer

Friedrich Bauer (1901–1962)

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Friedrich Bauer, undated

Friedrich Bauer joined Siemens-Schuckertwerke GmbH in 1924. His first position was in the company’s Industrial Department, where he was involved as a project engineer in the development of motor drives, primarily for industrial purposes. In 1936, he was appointed head of Siemens-Schuckertwerke’s Pulp Industry Department. Starting in 1941, he also headed its Chemistry Department and General Development Department. The following year, Bauer was appointed a deputy member of the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke. As head of the company’s Central Departments, he was also responsible for the power generation and power distribution areas.

 

When Siemens began to decentralize its company management in Berlin in February 1945 due to the imminent occupation of Germany’s capital by Soviet troops, Friedrich Bauer was appointed head of Siemens’ power engineering facilities and sales offices in Mülheim / Ruhr, Germany. In 1948, he was appointed a full member of the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke and was responsible for all of the company’s planning and sales departments – its so-called Technical Bureaus. In May 1951, he was appointed Chairman of the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke AG – a position he held until July 1962.

Bernhard Plettner

Bernhard Plettner (1914–1997)

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Bernhard Plettner, 1981

Bernhard Plettner was first employed at Siemens in 1937, when he interrupted his studies at the Technical University of Darmstadt for a semester to work as an intern at Siemens-Schuckertwerke in Berlin and Mühlheim / Ruhr, Germany. Upon completing his university degree, he returned to the company’s Industry Department in Berlin in 1940. There, he first worked as a project engineer, designing and marketing industrial and power systems in and outside Germany.

 

After the war, Plettner put this experience to good use in helping rebuild the company’s export business. Six years later, he was appointed head of the planning department for the raw materials industry. This department was responsible, among other things, for the construction of the Rourkela steel mill in India – the company’s first major export project in post-war Germany.

 

In 1959, Bernhard Plettner was appointed to the Managing Board of Siemens-Schuckertwerke. In 1961, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Board and, in 1962, its Chairman. After the establishment of Siemens AG, he was first a member of its new three-man Presidency, then Deputy Chairman of the Managing Board. In 1971, he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG. In 1981, Plettner was the first person from outside the Siemens family to be appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board, a position he held until 1988. Bernhard Plettner died in Erlangen, Germany, on November 2, 1997.