Ulrich Hartmann, Who Remade German Energy Market, Dies at 75

Ulrich Hartmann, Who Remade German Energy Market, Dies at 75

Ulrich Hartmann, the chief executive officer who shook up the European energy market when he engineered the merger that turned EON SE into Germany’s largest utility, has died. He was 75.Hartmann died today in Dusseldorf, EON spokesman Josef Nelles said.

As CEO of the Dusseldorf-based energy, mining and telecommunications firm Veba AG for seven years, Hartmann was the driving force behind its merger with Munich-based Viag AG in 2000, two years after the German government liberalized the energy market. Known as “Mr. Shareholder Value” from his days as chief financial officer at Veba, Hartmann exited the telecommunications and chemicals industries to focus on the new company’s business as an electricity provider.

“With his courage and vision, with his unmatched combination of strategic consistency and tactical resourcefulness, Ulrich Hartmann over many years left his mark on EON as it was built up and developed into a successful, international and competitive company,” Johannes Teyssen, EON’s CEO, said in a statement.

Under Hartmann and Wilhelm Simson, the Viag boss who became his co-CEO at EON, the merged company acquired U.K. utility Powergen Ltd. in 2002 and took over Ruhrgas AG under ministerial approval a year later to become one of Europe’s biggest utilities, with representation in more than 20 countries. The two men moved to the supervisory board in 2003.

Asset Purchases

During Hartmann’s eight-year chairmanship of the supervisory board, EON purchased more than 15 billion euros ($20.5 billion) in assets, including 11.5 billion euros from Enel SpA. The Italian company was forced to divest assets to meet European Union competition rules after making a joint bid with Spain’s Acciona SA (ANA) to take over Madrid-based Endesa SA. EON had tried to gain control of Endesa in 2006, before losing to the joint bid.

While EON made attempts to form nuclear-power ventures outside Germany, Hartmann foresaw political conflict looming at home as early as the 1990s and later refocused EON’s strategy to cope with an exit from nuclear power. In 2011, Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to phase out nuclear power following the Fukushima nuclear-power-plant meltdown.

Hartmann is the last board member whose name adorns one of the company’s power plants. The 550-megawatt unit at Irsching in the southern state of Bavaria was the world’s most efficient combined-cycle, gas-turbine plant when it started operating in 2011, according to EON.

Early Years

Hartmann was born on Aug. 7, 1938, in Berlin. He studied law at universities in Munich, Berlin and Bonn.

Hartmann began his career as an auditor at Treuarbeit AG in Dusseldorf in 1967 before becoming an assistant to the management board of Deutsche Leasing AG in 1971. He worked as corporate counsel at a unit of Veba in 1973, seven years after his father, Alfred, stepped down as CEO, a post he had held since 1959.

Hartmann served on the supervisory boards of Daimler AG, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Henkel AG. He was board chairman at Munich Re AG and IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG.

Hartmann and his wife, Inge, had two children.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tino Andresen in Dusseldorf at tandresen1@bloomberg.net


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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