The Fielmann Group bids farewell to its founder and long-standing Chairman of the Management Board Günther Fielmann. After a long and fulfilled life, the German entrepreneur passed away on January 3, 2024 at the the age of 84 at his home in Lütjensee in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), peacefully surrounded by his family.
Fielmann has shaped and revolutionized the optical industry. The company was born out of the simple idea of putting the customer first when Günther Fielmann opened his first store in Cuxhaven (Germany) in 1972. Within just a few decades, Fielmann democratized eyewear fashion, pioneering selection, guarantees and service. Today, the company is the market leader in Central Europe and one of the largest opticians in the world with 23,000 employees in Europe, Asia and the USA.
Succession remains in the family
Günther Fielmann had planned his succession in the family business for a long time: in 2012, he secured the decisive influence of the Fielmann family for future generations by acquiring the majority shareholding in the Fielmann Group into a family foundation. Over the following eight years, he successively transferred responsibility to his son Marc Fielmann.
In 2019, shortly after his 80th birthday, Günther Fielmann handed over the management of the Fielmann Group and shortly afterwards the management of the family holding company and family foundation to his son, thus completing “the prime example of a successful succession plan in a family business”, as the Chairman of the
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Fielmann Group AG, Professor Mark Binz, formulated.
“Professor Fielmann was an entrepreneur of the century and a visionary. With strategic foresight, a clear focus on the wishes of customers’ wishes and an exemplary commitment to the common good he shaped the German economy far beyond the borders of the optical and hearing acoustics.”
The thoughts of the more than 23,000 employees in Europe, Asia and the USA are with Günther Fielmann’s loved ones at this time. Our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy go to his family, friends and companions. Each and every one of us will remember Günther Fielmann with his customer-oriented philosophy, his creative power and visionary spirit as a pioneer of the optical industry.
Marc Fielmann, CEO of the Fielmann Group: “My father repeatedly introduced customer-friendly services that did not exist before. He has revolutionized the entire industry in the service of customers. His work fills us with respect and is an incentive for us to help everyone to hear and see the beauty of the world. As we lead our family business into the future, we will preserve the customer-friendly philosophy, the values and the image of humanity that have made us great.”
Fielmann supported social projects and the environmental protection
Günther Fielmann knew that he could only be successful in the long term in an intact and socially balanced environment. That is why Fielmann Group has been taking responsibility for the environment for decades, giving part of its success back to society. The family business is committed to projects in nature and environmental protection, art and the preservation of historical monuments, supports kindergartens and schools, promotes popular sports and has been planting a tree for every employee every year since 1986, to date more than 1.7 million trees and shrubs. The Fielmann family is a long-standing sponsor of cultural events such as the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, invites people to the annual interdenominational Advent service at Gut Schierensee, supports state museums, medicine and research.
For his entrepreneurial courage and his social and community Günther Fielmann has received numerous awards including the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In the same year, he was honorary citizenship of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein.
In 2002, Günther Fielmann was appointed Professor of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, and in 2004 he received an honorary doctorate from the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel.
Charitable Fielmann Foundation
The Fielmann family, represented by Günther Fielmann’s children, Sophie and Marc Fielmann, set up the charitable Fielmann Foundation. The foundation takes decades of social commitment into the future. It continues to support science and research, art and culture, monument conservation and nature conservation and landscape conservation, primarily in northern Germany.