Viktor Lemken, long-time shareholder and member of the Lemken management, turned 85 on September 24th. In the sixth generation of the family business, he expanded the former plough forge into a worldwide operating agricultural technology company.
On 24 September 1938, Viktor Lemken was born in Rheinberg as the second-born son of Katharina and Viktor Lemken. Having been chosen at an early age to take over the business one day, Viktor Lemken discovered his love of technology while still at a boarding grammar school in Lüdinghausen, Germany. He still describes himself today as a “technician with all his heart”.
Before Viktor Lemken was able to deepen his technical passion in the manufacturing sector as part of a 6-month internship at Fahr in Gottmadingen, the then largest European agricultural technology company, he completed a comprehensive commercial traineeship. This qualified him as an industrial manager, and he then extended his commercial skills by completing a degree in business management.
In 1966, Viktor Lemken became the sixth generation of family to join the company, which was founded in 1780. He worked in marketing and human resources and looked after investments until fate intervened in 1969, when his father died. Having had only three years to familiarise himself with the business, Viktor Lemken became Managing Director of the company. At the time, Lemken already employed 230 people at its headquarters in Alpen on the Lower Rhine. Viktor Lemken was supported by a technical and a commercial manager each, who took care of the day-to-day business. This allowed the young company owner to concentrate on specialist topics and the registration of patents.
For decades, the plough was the tillage implement that Lemken embodied – everything else was more of a side business. In 1980, the patented OptiQuick feature ultimately ensured the family company’s breakthrough in the industry. Lemken’s philosophy has always been “Advantage through technology”, and this is reflected in the corporate motto of “The Agrovision Company”. With two successful expansions of the product range – seed drill technology in 1996 and the company’s entry into crop care technology in 2005, Viktor Lemken charted the course for consistent, above-average corporate growth despite many ups and downs in the economic cycle.
The plough forge became a specialist in tillage, sowing and crop care implements. Still in family hands, Lemken has established itself as prominent company in Germany, Europe and the world. With currently more than 2,000 employees worldwide, Lemken achieved a turnover of €559 million last financial year, 80 percent of which came from over 50 international markets in which the company is represented. Viktor Lemken has been instrumental in shaping the company’s positive development for over 50 years.
All this growth was only possible thanks to highly qualified employees. One aspect that has always been particularly close to Viktor Lemken’s heart is training the next generation of skilled workers, even beyond the company’s internal staffing needs: “Not having a job is bad. Not having a qualification is much worse,” has always been his guiding principle. For his work, Viktor Lemken was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by Federal President Horst Köhler on 4 October 2004. The ground for the continued, sustainable growth and development of the Lemken family business has been prepared for a long time: Today, Viktor Lemken’s daughter Nicola Lemken is the seventh generation of the family to be part of the company as a shareholder and member of the executive management.