Obituary: Otto Rettenmaier, 1926-2020

Otto Rettenmaier, German entrepreneur and founder of the Transporter Industry International Group (TII), passed away on July 23, 2020, just a few days before his 94th birthday. 

Rettenmaier was born in 1926 in the Swabian town of Holzmühle. After studying business administration at the Technical University of Stuttgart, he joined his parents’ company, Faserstoffwerke J. Rettenmaier & Söhne (JRS), a market leader in the plant fibre sector. 

He famously said that he pursued the take-over of Scheuerle in 1988 – the specialist in heavy-duty and industrial vehicles and a company already operating internationally – “out of technical fascination”.

Whatever his motive, the move laid the foundation for today’s TII Group. With further takeovers – of Nicolas in 1995, Kamag in 2004 and the Indian operation TiiGer –  he created a global group of companies in special vehicles for industrial applications, heavy-duty trailers for the road and vehicles for logistics applications.

Among his many honours, he was awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit First Class for his contribution to industry. Rettenmaier was a good friend and supporter of ESTA. He received ESTA’s rarely-awarded  “Person of the Year” accolade in 2007. 

With his wife Lore, Otto Rettenmaier had two daughters and a son. His daughter Susanne is managing partner of the family holding company, while other members of the family remain closely involved in the Group’s work.