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Entrepreneurial generations

Five Generations of Ingenuity and Integrity

2022, the Opländer family of entrepreneurs and philanthropists in Dortmund will look back on a history of private enterprise going back 150 years – a long tradition that all started with Caspar Ludwig Opländer. The company that is the Wilo Group today was transferred by its fourth generation leader Dr.-Ing. h.c. Jochen Opländer and his children, Claudia Nüsslein, Jan Opländer and Felix Opländer (†), into a family foundation.

The company Wilo, now in its fifth generation, has always been working toward one objective: making people’s lives easier. This is what defines the Opländer family’s values and traditions, drives their work as engineers and entrepreneurs, and pushes them one step further each and every day in search of solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.

And it is in this spirit that the Opländer family in 2019 transferred entrepreneurial responsibility for the company to Oliver Hermes, so that he might carry on the Wilo torch in pursuit of the same goal.

1872 – 1891

Caspar Ludwig Opländer - The Founder

Caspar Ludwig Opländer was 27 years old when he founded the copper- and brassware factory “Kupfer- und Messingwaren-Fabrik Louis Opländer” in Dortmund in 1872, laying the foundations for what is now the Wilo Group. He led the company to its first successes before he passed away in 1891 at the age of only 46.

1891 – 1928

Louis Opländer - The Manufacturer

Louis Opländer was born in 1873, the first son of Caspar Ludwig and Wilhelmine Opländer. Following his father’s untimely death, he had to run the business alongside his mother at the tender age of 18. He managed the business until 1928 and remained with the company after that. Louis Opländer passed away in 1962.

1926 – 1968

Wilhelm Opländer - The Humanist

Wilhelm Opländer was born in 1901. He joined his father’s company at the age of 25 and soon took over as Managing Director. He remained in this position until he passed it on to his son, Jochen. Wilhelm Opländer passed away in 1984.

1963 – 2019

Dr.-Ing. E.h. Jochen Opländer - The Global Entrepreneur

Dr Jochen Opländer was born in 1931 and joined the management of Wilo in 1963. He was the sole owner of the company as from 1969. For decades, as the Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Board, and later as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board (today: Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board), he has shaped and enduringly defined the growth, internationalisation and technological achievements of today’s WILO SE.

Since 2006

Oliver Hermes - The Shaper of the Future

Oliver Hermes, born in 1970, was a partner at auditing and consulting firm KPMG before he switched to Wilo as a member of the Executive Board in 2006. He is President & CEO of the Wilo Group. Dr Jochen Opländer appointed him as his successor in 2018. In 2019, he also took on the position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Wilo-Foundation.