KLINGER History

Constancy and Progress - 138 Years and Counting

Corporate History and Family Tradition – the foundations of KLINGER’s success. Christoph Klinger-Lohr and Daniel Schibli, CEOs of the KLINGER Group, talk about milestones past and what we can learn from them today.

KLINGER celebrated a number of anniversaries last year, which you can read all about on the following pages. What’s behind the long-standing success of this company that was founded in Richard Klinger’s workshop in 1886?

Christoph Klinger-Lohr: Our company’s history goes back a long way and has gone through two world wars. We saw the need to build something new after each of these wars as an opportunity. Our corporate structure and our independence from the stock market have also helped us to get where we are today.

Daniel Schibli: We also set great store at KLINGER in our drive, in the search for all that’s new, in observing the market – including our competitors, to see what they do differently, perhaps even better than us. Being alert at all times and constantly seeking a competitive edge.

Contacts mentioned in the article:

Daniel Schibli, KLINGER Group CEO, responsible for the Business Units Fluid Control and Service & Distribution

Christoph Klinger-Lohr, KLINGER Group CEO, responsible for the Business Units Soft Sealing and Metal Sealing

What do you consider to be the key milestones in KLINGER’s history?

Schibli: One key decision was to place our focus on the leakage-free flow of a wide range of media at a broad range of pressure levels in different industrial applications, in other words on gaskets, valves and level gauges. Our decision to leave the automotive sector in the 1990s proved absolutely right, as it allowed us to focus on our core competences in industry.

Klinger-Lohr: That’s right, and our predecessors on the management board also recognized early on that Europe alone was too small a market, which is why they focused on internationalization. This gained momentum in the 1950s and 1960s, when we positioned ourselves as a globally successful player.

What takeaways does the company’s history hold for the immediate future?

To have the courage to embrace advanced solutions for the customer as well as new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, and political stipulations, like ESG.

Daniel Schibli, KLINGER Group CEO, responsible for the Business Units Fluid Control and Service & Distribution

What are your expectations for 2024?

This year will be just as volatile as the last. Although we are facing a difficult situation in Europe, we are operating in a resilient market. I don’t hold with doom mongering. At KLINGER we have people with innovative approaches who can boost our business even when the economy is slow.

Christoph Klinger-Lohr, KLINGER Group CEO, responsible for the Business Units Soft Sealing and Metal Sealing

How has KLINGER’s long history shaped the company’s identity?

Klinger-Lohr: A key factor has always been the personality of the company’s managing director. The company’s founder, Richard Klinger, was an inventor; his son Karl pushed ahead with internationalization; my grandfather was enthusiastic about the automotive sector, my father less so. Each generation left its mark on the company. What’s important is that the family always acted as a link and ensured continuity.

Schibli: And the employees feel a connection to the Klinger family. We think it’s important that the company’s history is, and continues to be, part of our DNA. That means working like a family, having the flexibility to make lightning decisions and keeping structures as simple as possible. Being like an international family, as it were.

Are there historical precedents for the political and economic situation that KLINGER is currently facing?

Schibli: The current times are probably unique in terms of the sheer volume and complexity of the geopolitical, technological and economic challenges they hold. But we are not alone in this; our customers and competitors are just as much affected. We can’t do everything, so it’s important to do what’s right and to do it right.

What advantage does a company that can look back on a history spanning almost 140 years have over younger players?

Klinger-Lohr: We can build on a foundation that we have successfully established over many years thanks to decisions that largely proved to be on target. On the other hand, start-ups today have much readier access to financing. Financial development support didn’t exist for a long time, so KLINGER had to operate more prudently from the word go – not a bad stance to have as a corporate value.

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