A duty to accept responsability

Horst Siedle
Horst Siedle (1938–2019)

Baden-Württemberg’s Economics Minister Ernst Pfister referred to Horst Siedle as a “shining example of civil society.” He was describing the committed local politician, patron, sponsor and the great and equally generous art enthusiast. Horst Siedle himself spoke of his attitude in an interview as follows: “If you can, then you damn well have a duty to accept responsibility.”

For his company, Horst Siedle was the head, heart and driving force behind many pioneering developments. He influenced Siedle as its owner and CEO for approximately four decades, leading it to great success.

“I am a citizen of the world, a European, German and proud to be from Baden – but in my heart, I am from Furtwangen,” was his answer when asked where he feels at home. Although Horst Siedle was a member of an old-established Black Forest family, he was a born-and-bred Berliner. His father sold products from the Furtwangen-based company in the capital city, where his son, Horst Siedle, was born in 1938.

Horst Siedle

At the age of six, he relocated to Furtwangen. His family moved into a house in their home city. Almost sixty years later he had this extensively refurbished and restored to its former glory. It would have been cheaper to tear it down and rebuild it. But, as was so often the case, Horst Siedle’s decision was about more than just the numbers.

Faithful to Furtwangen

Horst Siedle regarded remaining loyal to a location as part of a company’s responsibility. As the staunch owner of the mid-sized company, success as an entrepreneur was about more than the financial statements, although he was clear that, first and foremost, a company needed to be profitable. But profit should not become an end in itself, instead it should serve a purpose: that of people and the world in which they live.

A great legacy and a proud record

A “Mathäus Siedle, bell founder” is first mentioned in records over 260 years ago – Horst Siedle’s great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. Despite the passing centuries and all the changes, the company remained under the ownership and management of the same family.

Horst Siedle
The photo shows Horst Siedle with Siedle Vario, the system that he had been developing since the start of the 1980s together with then-design manager Eberhard Meurer. Vario revolutionised the industry, became the product that represented the Siedle brand, and is still one of the company’s most important revenue drivers today.

Horst Siedle inherited a long-standing legacy – but it did not just fall into his lap when he joined the company in 1957. The employees that he would go on to lead as Chief Executive Officer taught him how to solder, make cable harnesses, assemble line rectifiers or telephones and much more. He won high accolades with Swiss subsidiary Siedle Electric, which he built up from a one-man operation to the flourishing company. He finally became CEO of the parent company in 1970. Under his leadership, the company turned from a solid business into a rapidly growing company with a global reputation.

Horst Siedle won many awards for his entrepreneurial and social activities such as the Federal Cross of Merit in 1999, the Business Medal of the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2008, and in 2009 he became an honorary citizen of the city of Furtwangen.