Carl W. Hirschmann:
a successful entrepreuneur
Carl W. Hirschmann Sr. started his family establishment in the 1950s by founding a diversified group which operated in the fields of trade of machine-tools, private banking, hotel industry, tourism and transportation, agriculture and real estate.
... and a pioneer in aviation
In 1967, Carl W. Hirschmann Sr. founded Jet Aviation with the acquisition of the former Globe Air hangars in Basel
and shortly thereafter the maintenance and ground handling facilities of Pilatus Air Service at the airports in
Geneva and Zurich. Thus he established the first renowned maintenance facility in Europe for business aviation.
The aviation industry experienced high growth rates and within a few years, Jet Aviation had become the most important sector of the group. This led to a strategic reorientation. The other businesses were gradually sold, which enabled the Hirschmann Group to focus on its new core competence.
Jet Aviation: a world wide aviation company
Carl W. Hirschmann Sr. expanded his aviation business in the 1970s and 1980s by diversifying Jet Aviation’s
range of services in the areas of aircraft management and charter. The first maintenance facility
outside Switzerland was opened in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1975. Four years later, other facilities in Jeddah,
Saudi Arabia and Boston, USA followed.
Further milestones were the outfitting services at Jet Aviation’s base in Basel in 1977 and strategic acquisitions in 1988 in North America. As a result, the group developed into a global aviation business with a broad range of services and a global workforce of 5000 employees. Numerous Jet Aviation centers of competence were built in Basel, Boston, Dallas, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Hannover, Jeddah, London, Palm Beach, Riyadh, Teterboro, Singapore and Zurich.
In 1985, Carl W. Hirschmann Sr. established the Hirschmann Foundation in Zug, Switzerland, which was originally planned as a corporate foundation.
When Carl W. Hirschmann Sr. died in April 1995, the Hirschmann family continued for ten more years to manage the Jet Aviation Group in accordance with its founder’s spirit. And in 2005 the family reached the conclusion that a sale would best enhance the future dynamic development of the company and gave Permira, an important private equity group, the opportunity to buy Jet Aviation. To date, Carl W. Hirschmann Jr. is the only family member that still retains a shareholding in the company.
As the Hirschmann Foundation had a shareholding in the Hirschmann Industrial Holding Ltd. and thus in Jet Aviation, it received part of the sales proceeds. The Foundation now was in a position to fulfil on a large scale the obligations as set out by the Foundation’s charter.
Since 2007, the Hirschmann Foundation has mainly been involved in research and educational projects (see projects).