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Helmut Claas - Entrepreneur, visionary, family man, passionate farmer

Agricultural machinery pioneer, Helmut Claas, passes away

Helmut Claas, long-time Managing Director, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Shareholders' Committee of the CLAAS group, passed away on January 5 at the age of 94.

His death has come as a great shock. Along with the family and all of the relatives, not only are well over 11,000 employees around the world mourning, but so too is an entire industry which, in Helmut Claas, has lost a significant European business personality. As of today, a book of condolence is online where everyone is invited to express their sympathy, thoughts or personal experiences with Helmut Claas.

You also have the chance to send your heartfelt condolences to the Claas family personally and in the traditional way. The texts in the digital condolence book are public and visibly unite us in mourning across all national borders.


Down to earth, determined, innovative

Helmut Claas was first and foremost a farmer. He always emphasised that it is impossible to develop good machines if you do not understand agriculture itself. And he was an enthusiastic engineer. All kinds of technologies interested him and his work gave him a lot of pleasure. Entrepreneurial, but above all technical. He was happy in the factory and in technical development.

His career at CLAAS also began in the technology area, after his apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer and a few semesters in agriculture. He thought in terms of alternatives and it was important to him to critically question every solution, especially the one currently in place.

This leading position is embodied in two of the world’s most successful combine harvester model series – the DOMINATOR and LEXION. And with the JAGUAR, Helmut Claas also made his company the world market leader for forage harvesters. His vision and persistence were again to the fore in new product developments such as the XERION and the TERRA TRAC caterpillar track technology, which broke new ground for the entire industry.

But Helmut Claas was not the kind of man to bask in glory or boast about his achievements. Being described as a visionary, an exceptional entrepreneur or an innovative engineer held no interest for him. When asked about CLAAS’ secret of success, his answer was clear yet unpretentious: “There’s no secret, just good ideas and motivated people”.

Helmut Claas always believed in the people at CLAAS and knew: trust, openness, respect and loyalty, but along with a good sense of humour, help to achieve even ambitious goals. Giving up was never an option.

Never standing still, always striving for excellence and yet staying firmly rooted in reality: this personal credo will continue to guide CLAAS into the future.