REICHSHOF, Germany (BRAIN)— Ralf Bohle, founder of Ralf Bohle GmbH and the tire brand Schwalbe, passed away last Sunday in Bergneustadt, Germany, after battling a long illness. He was 75 years old.
In five decades as an entrepreneur, Bohle accomplished many things. As a bicycle specialist, he campaigned for the bicycle as a means of transport. As an Asia expert, he established lifelong business partnerships and friendships. As the founder of the Schwalbe brand, he initiated industry leading innovation. He raised Schwalbe to be an undisputed European market leader, while giving his employees more than just a secure workplace.
His son, the present managing partner, Frank Bohle, summed up his father’s work succinctly. “Everything that constitutes the Bohle Group with the Schwalbe brand today exists due to his efforts, his ideas and his vision,” Frank said.
Bohle handed over the company’s reins roughly a decade ago, asking his son, Frank, and son-in-law, Holger Jahn, to join the board of directors. Since 2002, management has been on three “pairs of shoulders" as Frank acts as the board’s spokesperson and is responsible for marketing and distribution, while Jahn is the director responsible for development and technology, and Andreas Grothe is responsible for finance.
“You have not only led the way for your employees but, through your kind, down-to-earth and wise manner, you have created a great role model for us,” said Schwalbe’s personnel manager Jürgen Krischke, speaking on behalf of all of its employees. “We could always rely on your willingness to listen and to help. You are and remain our boss—a very special type of boss.”
For more on the life of Bohle, be sure to read the May 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.