Waiblingen, 4/11/2022 | Company press release
Businesswoman and philanthropist Eva Mayr-Stihl died on April 9, 2022. She was a passionate entrepreneur and has significantly contributed to the success of the family-run STIHL company. As a member of the Management Board, she has been responsible for the company for 33 years. Throughout her many years of service on the Advisory Board and the Supervisory Board, she kept close watch over the strategic direction of the company.
Eva Mayr-Stihl joined her father's company in 1960. With an educational background in business administration and linguistics, she took on responsibility for advertising and market research at the family-owned enterprise. Her expertise and drive to assume a leading role at the company quickly bore fruit, as she was made a managing partner in 1961 along with her three siblings; two years later, her father gave her the power to represent the firm and enter into transactions on its behalf. After her father’s death in 1973, Mayr-Stihl became Deputy Chairwoman of the Executive Board, also with responsibility for Finance and Controlling from 1975. When she joined STIHL, the business employed 740 people and generated an annual revenue of 12.8 million euros. Under the leadership of Eva Mayr-Stihl and her brother Hans Peter Stihl, the family-run business evolved into an international corporate group with production sites in Germany, the United States, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, China, and the Philippines as well as a steadily expanding product line. In 2002 Eva Mayr-Stihl and the family members withdrew from STIHL operational business and a non-family Chair of the Executive Board was appointed. Eva Mayr-Stihl then joined the STIHL Advisory Board.
During her time at the helm, Eva Mayr-Stihl was particularly focused on monitoring the company’s finances. Hans Peter Stihl emphasized the importance of his sister among management as a “necessary corrective that tends more towards caution,” explaining: “When I had overly grandiose investment plans, which happened occasionally, she would bring me back to earth.” Furthermore, the time he committed to numerous German business associations would hardly have been possible without his sister, who “had my back in the company” as deputy on the Executive Board. The two siblings shared an office for many years, linked by deep trust and respect.
The second defining anchor throughout Eva Mayr-Stihl’s life was her philanthropy. In 1986, she and her husband Robert Mayr set up the charitable Andreas Stihl Foundation – which was subsequently renamed the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation in 2004. It was set up to finance projects in the fields of animal welfare, education, science, research as well as the arts and culture. Today the Foundation supports a variety of programs, including an endowed professorship for forest genetics at the University of Freiburg and a research group on closed material loops. Additionally, every two years the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation teams up with forestry departments at German universities to organize the German Forest Science Award. To date the Foundation has donated more than 38 million euros to support causes in line with its mission: “Our credo is to work for a better world, in which physical and mental health, as well as a strong sense of sustainable responsibility for the environment, are seen as important values by all citizens.”
On November 11, 2009, Eva Mayr-Stihl and her brother Hans Peter Stihl received the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Social Market Economy Prize at St. Paul’s church in Frankfurt am Main. In 2011 the Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany followed, and she also became the first woman to receive the key to the city of Waiblingen. In 2019, Eva Mayr-Stihl was named an Honorary Senator of the University of Freiburg.
The people of STIHL and their families are deeply saddened by the death of this dedicated businesswoman and benefactor.