Reinhold Claas, a long-standing member of the Shareholders Committee and Supervisory Board of the Claas Group, passed away on 7 June 2022 at the age of 91. Reinhold Claas was the third child of company founder August Claas and wife Paula Claas. Together with his brother Helmut Claas, he played a sizeable role in building up the company after the Second World War. With him, the last shareholder of the second family generation passes away.
“All those who knew Reinhold Claas appreciated him for his friendly and modest manner. People and the well-being of the family business always came first for him. Through his actions in important phases of the company’s history, he made a significant contribution to our success today,” explains Thomas Böck, CEO of Claas.
Reinhold Claas was a graduate industrial engineer. He graduated from Darmstadt Technical University in 1958. He was one of the first graduates of this new interdisciplinary course of study, consisting of mechanical engineering and business administration. Reinhold Claas officially joined the company with his brother Helmut in July 1957. His main focus was on the development of balers and forage harvesters. Among other things, he was responsible for setting up baler production at the newly built factory in Metz, France. Until the 1970s, he expanded the production site and developed it to its current size.
Reinhold Claas was also the driving force behind the takeover of the renowned specialist for forage harvesting machines, the former Josef Bautz GmbH in Bad Saulgau, which joined Claas in 1969. As its managing director for many years, he developed the Swabian affiliate into what would later become a successful and innovative product division. Reinhold Claas was also active as an entrepreneur outside the family business: in 1958 he took over two ball bearing companies – one in Fribourg, Switzerland, with 250 employees, and another in Munderkingen, Swabia, with 550 employees. He managed both companies until the 1990s. During his active time, he also applied for a patent for more than 40 inventions.
Both in his home town of Harsewinkel and in the region, Reinhold Claas was socially involved in many clubs and organisations, especially in football and handball, which earned him high recognition. His great passion in his private life was hunting.
Reinhold Claas was married to his wife Doris for many years before she passed away in December 2005. The marriage produced sons Volker and Rüdiger Claas. The early death of his son Volker Claas, who died in January 2022 at the age of 57, hit him particularly hard. Most recently, Reinhold Claas held a seat on the Supervisory Board and two advisory boards. In the Claas Group, his son Rüdiger Claas is now the third generation to succeed his father.
The death of Reinhold Claas deeply saddens his family, the shareholders, the Executive Board and the employees.