MRO Magazine

Obituary: Oetiker Group founder Hans Oetiker (October 03, 2002)

Horgen, Switzerland -- Oct. 3, 2002 -- Hans Oetiker, founder of the Oetiker Group, died Sept. 12, 2002. A dynamic a...

Horgen, Switzerland — Oct. 3, 2002 — Hans Oetiker, founder of the Oetiker Group, died Sept. 12, 2002. A dynamic and extremely successful entrepreneur and inventor, he leaves behind a wide range of products. Products based on Oetiker patents are available today in all application ranges of industrial technology, but above all in connection with most brand names of the automotive industry.

Modesty, initiative, and independent human thinking and acting characterized Mr. Oetiker’s style. He upheld values like democracy and justice, and showed personal commitment for them. With his engagement as pioneer of the Swiss Air Rescue Services and as co-founder and honoured member of the Hermann Geiger Foundation, he showed an emphatic interest in the fate of his fellow human beings.

Mr. Oetiker was born on May 25, 1918, in Urdorf, Switzerland, where he grew up with five stepsisters and a stepbrother. His father was an engine driver with the Swiss Federal Railways, and his mother had a small farm. At the age of 6, he lost his father, and consequently learnt at a young age how to assert himself.

From 1933-1937, Mr. Oetiker completed his apprenticeship as machine fitter at BBC and passed with very good grades. Moreover, during his apprenticeship he continuously made suggestions how to improve the production processes.


At the age of 19, he was a foreman and later on became a cost estimator with BBC. During the time of his active military services, he attended night classes to become a machine engineer. To increase his small income he acted as acrobat and juggler in Zurich for a short time.

In 1945, Hans Oetiker married Gertrud Reutener, and the couple had three daughters.

On March 5, 1942, not even 24 years old, Mr. Oetiker established a mechanical workshop in Horgen, Switzerland, and thus laid the foundations for the Oetiker Group, which today has 10 production facilities in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, Czech Republic, USA, Canada, Brazil and China; six trading companies in Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Great Britain; and a management company in Switzerland. Furthermore, a multitude of independent domestic and foreign agencies look after the distribution of Oetiker products by third parties.

Starting with wage-labour, Mr. Oetiker’s distinct, innovative talent led him to develop after 1947 a wide range of products in the sectors of connecting technology, surface technology, work and operational safety, and medical technology. The focal point of the applied connecting technology is the "ear clamp," featuring its easy-to-handle design and suitability for mass production and marketing.

Mr. Oetiker’s modesty and thriftiness were further elements of his recipe for success. He was always prepared to invest any financial surplus in new products and procedures, and to further build up the company’s infrastructure.

The company’s current staff of 900 knew him as dynamic and uncompromising boss, but also as warm-hearted, fair, and generous employer with a lot of understanding for all matters and personal requests.

Hans Oetiker lived for his products and created a worldwide production and distribution infrastructure. His extraordinary and exemplary beliefs as well as his excellent achievements live on in a 60-year life work, continued especially by his wife, by his family and by his international staff.