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Senator h.c. Gerhard Sturm and Ralf Sturm

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Class of 2021, Germany

Senator h.c. Gerhard Sturm, Founder and Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board, and Ralf Sturm, Partner and Member of the Supervisory Board, ebm-papst Gruppe

Father and son duo have blown away the competition with their world-beating fans. 

Photographic portrait of Senator h.c. Gerhard Sturm and Ralf Sturm

Senator h.c. Gerhard Sturm (left) and Ralf Sturm (right)

Young and determined, Gerhard Sturm was working at a fan manufacturer when he spotted a gap in the market for smaller fans. Aware of the huge potential in this new niche, he cofounded ebm-papst, and over the next five decades he turned it into the world’s leading manufacturer of specialized ventilation systems and motors. 

The family enterprise now employs over 15,000 people at 29 production sites and in 48 sales offices worldwide. Their employees are their top priority, says Gerhard’s son Ralf, Group Director of Human Resources, who has led the HR function since 2009. Ralf became a Partner and Member of the Supervisory Board in 2017, when Gerhard passed on the mantle after 65 years of active professional life.

The company adheres to a set of core principles, including that “each new product must be ecologically and economically superior to its predecessor.” Consequently, ebm-papst has continuously set global industry standards, from connecting fans digitally to the use of eco-friendly materials.

*Information correct as of June 2021.