The international transportation industry has lost one of its true giants, following the announcement that Manfred Swarovski, founder and CEO of the Swarco Group, passed away peacefully at the age of 77 on May 13.
With Swarovski’s death, Swarco has lost its mastermind who managed to bring his group of companies to world renown in the field of road safety and intelligent traffic management over the course of nearly half a century. The global traffic industry also loses an internationally renowned and highly respected advocator of road safety and environmentally sound mobility, who untiringly underlined the need for continued public investment in road infrastructure in order to save lives.
Swarovski launched the company in 1969 in Wattens, Austria, with a small factory for the production of reflective glass beads. Nearly 50 years later, Swarco has become an international traffic technology corporation, employing some 3,700 people and generating annual revenues of €675m (US$795m). Following its leader’s focus on improving quality of life for all travelers, the company today offers one of the most comprehensive portfolios in the fields of road safety and intelligent traffic management; supporting the growing mobility needs of society with turnkey systems and solutions in road marking, urban and interurban traffic control, parking solutions, and public transportation management.
Swarco AG executives, Philipp Swarovski, Daniel Sieberer and Michael Schuch, have issued a statement with one voice: “Manfred’s entrepreneurial spirit, his visionary ideas and his human way are both an obligation and incentive for us to continue Swarco, his life’s work, successfully in his spirit. Manfred’s principle has always been to shape a powerful and integrated organization out of a huge number of individual companies. This mentality will be in our focus, too, in order to further strengthen the Swarco brand on a global level.”
Dr Josef Prettenhofer, chairman of Swarco AG’s supervisory board, added, “Manfred Swarovski has always aimed to ensure the stability and continuity of the corporation. That is why he planned his succession ahead of time by continuously handing over his tasks to the executive board members during the past years. They will continue to run the company strategically and operationally in close alignment with the supervisory board.”
The International Road Federation (IRF) has been one of the first organizations to mourn the passing of Swarovski, and has praised his vision, energy and passion, particularly the application of his extraordinary talent in guiding the work of the IRF’s Executive Committee, which he served on for many years.
“Manfred Swarovski will be remembered as one of the most influential industry leaders of his generation and a tireless advocate for our sector,” said IRF chairman, Abdullah Al-Mogbel. “He richly deserved the IRF Lifetime Achievement Award that I presented to him at the opening ceremonies of the 17th IRF World Meeting & Exhibition in Riyadh.”
IRF president and CEO, Patrick Sankey, added, “Manfred’s leading idea was to improve the quality of life for all road users. The innovations he helped introduce have impacted, and in many cases saved, the lives of countless citizens and fully prepare Swarco for the next generation of mobility solutions.”