Dr. Heinz Kriwet, long-time steel manager who was closely associated with thyssenkrupp for most of his professional life, died on March 9 at the age of 85.
Dr. Ulrich Lehner, Supervisory Board Chairman of thyssenkrupp: “In his 40-year career at Krupp, Thyssen and thyssenkrupp, Heinz Kriwet played a very key role in making the company what it is today.”
Kriwet obtained his school-leaving certificate in 1952 and took up a commercial apprenticeship at Stahlwerke Bochum AG. From 1954 to 1957 he studied economics and business management in Cologne and Freiburg. After gaining a degree in economics (Diplomvolkswirt) he went on to earn a doctorate from the University of Freiburg (Dr. rer. Pol.). A frequent lecturer, Kriwet remained firmly committed to the Freiburg School (Freiburger Schule der Nationalökonomie) throughout his life.
Kriwet began his professional career in 1960 at Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl in Düsseldorf. He joined the Krupp group in 1962, where he progressed through a series of management positions. In 1964 he became head of sales planning and market research at the Rheinhausen steel plant. In 1968 he was made head of stainless steel sales at Fried. Krupp Hüttenwerke AG before being appointed to the company’s executive board in 1969.
In 1973 Kriwet moved to the executive board of Thyssen AG, becoming chairman of the executive board of Thyssen Stahl AG in 1983. From 1991 to 1996 Kriwet was chairman of the Thyssen AG executive board and after standing down from the executive board he served as Supervisory Board Chairman of Thyssen AG (from 1996) and after the merger thyssenkrupp AG (1999 to 2001). In 1993 he was President of the World Steel Association.
Heinz Kriwet supported the merger of Thyssen Stahl AG with Krupp Stahl AG in 1997 and then in 1999 the full merger of the two companies into the present-day thyssenkrupp AG.
His address to the Berger Kirche church in Düsseldorf in 1986 met with a great response. In the face of fierce opposition to the closure of the Henrichshütte steel plant in Hattingen, he asked “Can a Christian close Hattingen?” He not only can, he must in order to serve the whole. This, said Kriwet at the time, meets “high moral standards”.
Lehner: “Heinz Kriwet was highly regarded in our company, in the international steel industry, and in the academic world. Recognition for his life’s work will continue beyond his death.”