In mid-November Wolfgang Fritsch-Albert, Chief Executive Officer of the Westfalen Group, turns 70. A banker and business administration graduate, he joined the Board of Directors in 1974 and became Chief Executive Officer of the Münster-based family company three years later.
Highly successful corporate development
Fritsch-Albert is the third generation to lead the family company that was founded in 1923. Under his leadership, the Westfalen Group has grown from a regional technical gas manufacturer, liquid gas supplier and service station operator to a Europe-wide group of companies with almost 1,700 employees. The Westfalen Group employs more than 840 people in Münster alone, 67 of whom are apprentices. Turnover has increased from the equivalent of 100 million euro in 1974 to 1.7 billion euro in 2015. With 260 service stations, the company currently operates the largest network of independent branded service stations in Germany. The Westfalen Group is one of the leading liquid gas suppliers in the energy supply sector. The group has a presence in Germany and seven other European countries as a producer and supplier of medical, laboratory, industrial, trade and food production gases.
Committed family-business entrepreneur
Fritsch-Albert is clearly committed to entrepreneurship: "My work is my conviction and my calling." Consequently, he has been involved with issues concerning family-owned companies for a number of years, not least with the "Die Familienunternehmer e.V." [The Family Entrepreneur] association and the Witten/Herdecke University institute for family-owned companies. Up until 1995, he was also CEO of the DVFG [German Liquid Gas Association]. From 1997 to 2006 he led the German federal association of medium-sized mineral oil companies (UNITI) and he has been its honorary chairman since 2006. As a member of the advisory board for Münster's technical college he promotes enhanced cooperation between universities and business. He has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and is an honorary commercial judge. In 2013, the town of Münster gave him the business award presented by Mayor Markus Lewe. Last year he received the service station sector's honorary award for, in particular, his willingness to break new ground in the design of service stations.
In his leisure time Fritsch-Albert is sporty and nature-loving. His pastimes include Nordic walking and cycling but his passion is hunting, which to him is primarily about conservation and preservation.
Always looking ahead
By his own admission Fritsch-Albert is looking forward to future entrepreneurial challenges and, in particular, to applying himself to making alternative energies, such as hydrogen, commercially viable in order to ensure we can have carbon-neutral mobility in the future. The planned further growth of the company will be achieved both by developing new markets abroad and through new business areas and distribution models to help the Westfalen Group strengthen its standing as a full-service provider in the energy sector even further.
Fritsch-Albert is married and has two grown-up children. His son Alexander is the fourth generation of the family to work for the company.
The Westfalen Group
The Westfalen Group is an energy sector technology company operating with a total of 23 subsidiaries and associates in Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The family business, founded in 1923, has over 20 production sites located across Europe and is headquartered in Münster. Its business sectors are gases, energy supply and service stations. With more than 1,700 employees, the Westfalen Group posted sales of approximately 1.7 billion euro in the 2015 financial year.