UK automotive executives and friends of BOSCH gathered to celebrate the work of departing BOSCH UK president Dr Klaus Peter Fouquet at the Royal Automobile Club on Monday night (March 23).
Guests from across the automotive and industrial sectors bid Peter Fouquet “Vielen dank und gute Reise” as he steps down from the job he started on June 1, 2009, during a very different market for UK automotive.
Dr Fouquet and his family move to Vienna where he takes responsibility for BOSCH Austria, Central and Eastern Europe, and he is succeeded by Steffen Hoffmann, who was president of BOSCH South Africa before moving to England in January.
Mr Uwe Raschke, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch Group, praised Dr Fouquet for building the UK business, where the industrial group now has the third largest market in the world by sales outside Germany and the second biggest in Europe.
Mr Raschke said: “[From 2009] under Peter’s guidance Bosch’s existing businesses were further enhanced and also new businesses were established, such as Bosch Engineering GmbH (BEG) in 2012 and the Bosch Energy and Building Solutions (BEBS) in 2014. Our turnover in the UK in total has grown by more than 50 % from 2009 to 2014, which is remarkable considering the challenging market environment caused by the European financial crisis.”
Bosch also opened two new engineering facilities in Warwick and Mira Technology Park during this period.
“Peter was supporting or driving these activities with passion and determination,” said Mr Raschke. “He always reminded us, his German colleagues, of the importance of the UK market for Bosch and the great potential it has to offer in terms of growth and opportunities, and he also encouraged the different divisions to access and develop new business opportunities.”
Bosch UK’s turnover today is £1.9 billion and it employs nearly 4,000 people from Hampshire to Aberdeen. Dr Fouquet, who warmed up the audience by telling a joke about an Englishman preferring the firing squad than having to hear a German colleague’s last speech, mapped out the importance of Bosch’s UK operations, highlighting the work of several UK facilities. For example, Bosch’s garden products and lawnmower business in Stowmarket, Suffolk is the company’s global development centre for this product range – unusual for a German multinational – and has developed the autonomous robotic lawnmower, InDego.
Other guests heaped praise on Fouquet’s record, for BOSCH and for the UK automotive industry.
Dr Wolfgang Ziebart, Director Group Engineering, and Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology at Jaguar Land Rover, said that part of Jaguar Land Rover’s impressive success since the recession was due to reliable supplier partnership with Bosch. Dr Ziebart said building a good business is like cultivating garden, and “Peter has cultivated a beautiful garden that is in great condition for the next steward.”
Michael Hawes, director general of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, applauded Fouquet’s contribution to the lobbying work of SMMT and the Automotive Council, which has contributed to create such a strong position for car and automotive makers in Britain, that is “on track to manufacture two million vehicles in the next year or two.”
Beyond automotive, the speakers acknowledged Fouquet’s role in the creation of white goods manufacturer and distributor BSH Home Appliances, a subsidiary of BSH Hausgeräte GmbH the largest manufacturer of home appliances in Europe and a joint venture between Robert Bosch and Siemens.
The audience also learned that a Bosch sensor will soon be in nearly one third of all mobile phones, as Uwe Raschke emphasised the company’s global focus on mobility to help solve the ‘megatrends’ of tomorrow.
Peter Fouquet is succeeded in the UK by Steffen Hoffmann, ex-president of Bosch South Africa, who said he was looking forward to continuing on from Fouquet’s impressive track record.
Dr Fouquet relinquishes several non-Bosch roles including the chair of the German British Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and board membership of the German British Forum.