Few companies that are still successful today can trace their origins back over 150 years. Swiss giant the Benninger Group, can. The company was founded in 1859 in the town of Uzwil in the northeast of Switzerland. To put this into perspective, the year Benninger was founded, France was still under Napoleonic rule, Charles Darwin had only just published his On the Origin of Species, and Big Ben chimed its bells for the very first time.
In 1859, Switzerland was in the midst of a period of industrialisation and economic growth, which had begun more than 10 years earlier when the first section of the country's rail network was constructed. Many parts of Europe were booming due to the Industrial Revolution, and technological advancements in machinery were accelerating. Benninger, primarily producing machinery and solutions for textile manufacturers, thrived in the environment.
The company continued to grow, and in 1900 started exporting machinery outside of Europe. In the 1990s, it established its first branches outside of Europe in China, India, Germany, and Russia. Benninger strongly believes its history and legacy is important; it acknowledges that today's and tomorrow's innovations and customer relations are based on the experiences and know-how of the past. Today, the company faces challenges with a changing industry and another surge in technology development, something current CEO Gerhard Huber is confident the company can overcome as it has before.
Gerhard joined Benninger 12 years ago as the COO and was promoted to CEO in 2011. Having worked as an executive in the company for eight years, he understood what needed to be done to ensure the continued success of Benninger. Gerhard says that in any industry, you need to ensure your company has a consistent strategy to deal with change."There have been changes in the industry and its always important to define the right strategy and to position the company to find the right product offering for the future and to be a future partner in the industry."