Advisory board established

Hans Lenze founds an advisory board for his company in 1961, made up of family members and external experts. He does this to detect potentially damaging developments at an early stage with the help of external specialists, and at the same time to prepare for his departure from the company. The board is meant to advise the management of the company on matters of finance, product development, and the construction of production facilities.

Lenze appoints people to the board who are long-time companions, well-known experts from various fields, and friends from the world of business. Family members are not to form the majority. The external members of the first advisory board are the lawyer and banker Hans Heuer, businessman Erich Schieweck, and the director of the AEG meter factory in Hameln, Wilhelm Ziegenbein.

When Hans Lenze dies in June 1963, he has made arrangements for his succession: his son-in-law Alfred Belling has been named as his successor in all company contracts since the end of the 1950s. In his last will and testament, Hans Lenze stipulates that “the advice and the decision of the advisory board are to be followed”.

To this day, the board, now called the Family Board, convenes at least three times a year for a meeting in which the family and the Executive Board participate. The shareholder family determines the composition of the Family Board and they place high value on the discussions with experts. The Family Board supports the Executive Board in particular on fundamental issues with long-term effects, it contributes cross-industry expertise, and it supports the search for the best corporate strategy.

In Hans Lenze’s day, an advisory board is something special, and it is quite rare for small and medium-sized companies to seek outside advice. Hans Lenze is acting with foresight when he installs an advisory board for the long term. The board establishes itself as a fixed instrument of Lenze’s corporate management. Lenze succeeds in recruiting very well-known and highly respected personalities for the board, including the entrepreneur Tyll Necker (1930-2001), who at the end of the 1980s is President of the Federation of Germany Industries. The Family Board, consisting of family shareholders and external specialists, has become indispensable for the family business.