Farm Contractor is sorry to report on the death of Reinhold Claas, youngest son of the August Claas (founder of Claas) and long-standing member of the Shareholders Committee and Supervisory Board of the Claas Group. He was 91 years old and the last shareholder of the second Claas family generation.
“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,” explained Thomas Böck, CEO of Claas.
Reinhold Claas was a graduate industrial engineer from Darmstadt Technical University in 1958; one of the first graduates of the interdisciplinary course. He joined Claas in 1957, alongside his brother Helmut, where his main focus was the development of balers and forage harvesters. He was responsible for setting up baler production at the newly built factory in Metz, France and until the 1970s, expanded the production site to its current size.
He was also behind the takeover of Josef Bautz GmbH in Bad Saulgau in 1969. As managing director, he developed the Swabian affiliate into what would become a successful product division. Outside of Claas, he continued to be active as an entrepreneur, taking over two ball-bearing companies in 1958 and managing both until the 1990s. While active, he applied for more than 40 patents for his own inventions.
In his hometown of Harsewinkel and in the region, he was socially involved in many clubs and organisations, especially football and handball, which earned him high recognition. His great passion was hunting.
He was married to his wife Doris for many years until her passing in December 2005. Together they had two sons, Volker and Rüdiger Claas. The early death of Volker in January 2022, aged just 57, hit particularly hard. Rüdiger will now succeed his father as the third family generation.