Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler

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Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler (born 17 August 1941 in Prague[1]) is one of the owners of Schaeffler Group, one of the world's largest producers of rolling bearings.[2] The other owner is her son Georg F. W. Schaeffler.

Early life[edit]

Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and grew up in Vienna, Austria.


In 1963 Schaeffler married Georg Schaeffler, and moved to Herzogenaurach in Franconia, which is located within Bavaria. It was through Schaeffler's marriage that she would come to work for Schaeffler Group AG. In 1996 Georg died, and she took the reins of the family business.[3]

It has been Maria-Elizabeth Schaeffler's legacy to continue with her husband's life's work, growing the family business, Schaeffler Group AG. Since 1996 Schaeffler has led her company through multiple lucrative acquisitions, including: INA, LUK, and FAG. These three companies in particular are large brand name corporations in making rolling bearings. These three acquisitions have made Schaeffler Group AG one of the largest producers of rolling bearings and linear motion products in the World.[4]

In 1999, Schaeffler led the acquisition of LUK, a clutch manufacturer, obtaining all of the shares of the company for Schaeffler Group AG. In 2001 she led the acquisition of FAG Kugelfischer Georg Schäfer AG Schweinfurt, with the acquisitions of FAG and INA, Schaeffler Group AG had become the second largest producer of rolling bearings in the World. In 2009 Schaeffler Group purchased a significant share of the company Continental AG.[5]

Since 1996 Schaeffler Group AG has seen an increase in annual turnover and employment. By 2013 the annual turnover reached approximately 10 billion Euros, and the employment tripled to over 70,000 employees, an impressive mark for a completely privately owned company. [6]

Political activities[edit]

Schaeffler served as a CSU delegate to the Federal Convention for the purpose of electing the President of Germany in 2004.[7] During the Hannover Messe in April 2016, she was among the 15 German corporate leaders who were invited to a private dinner with President Barack Obama.[8]

Other activities[edit]


Schaeffler has been given many awards and accolades, including the following:

  • 2001 – Cross of Merit with Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2001 – Medal of Honor by the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce for the Mid-Franconian region
  • 2002 – Honorary citizen of the town of Höchstadt/Aisch
  • 2003 – Bavarian Order of Merit
  • 2004 – "Family Entrepreneur of the Year" award, presented by the economics magazine "impulse" and the "INTES Akademie für Familienunternehmen" (INTES Academy for Family-Owned Companies)
  • 2005 – Honorary Member of the Senate of the Transylvania University of Brasov, Romania
  • 2005 – Honorary citizen of the town of Jeonju, Jeollabuk-Do province, Korea
  • 2006 – Honorary citizen of the town of Herzogenaurach Entry in the "Golden Book" of the Erlangen-Höchstadt district
  • 2007 – Large Silver Medal with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria
  • 2007 – 1st Class Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2007 – Karmarsch Medal
  • 2011 – "Großen Tiroler Adler" medal[14]
  • 2011 – "Personality of the Year" award presented by the ÖkoGlobe-Institut of Duisburg-Essen University
  • 2012 – "Gold medal of the District" for the Erlangen-Höchstadt district
  • 2013 – "Family Entrepreneur of the Year award, 2012", selected by a jury of representatives of German industry and Handelsblatt[15][16]


  1. ^ "Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler" (in German). Wirtschafts Woche. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Joseph, Ugesh A. (28 January 2014). The 'Made in Germany' Champion Brands: Nation Branding, Innovation and World Export Leadership. Gower Publishing, Ltd. pp. 142–. ISBN 978-1-4094-6648-2. 
  3. ^ Press Releases: Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler receives „Großer Tiroler Adler” medal from the state of Tyrol; Schaeffler AG; October 25, 2011
  4. ^ Owners: Maria-Elizabeth Schaeffler; Schaeffler AG; 2014
  5. ^ Press Releases: Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler named Family Business Woman of the Year; Schaeffler AG; January 7, 2013
  6. ^ Press Releases: Bavarian Order of Merit for Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler; Schaeffler AG; July 17, 2003
  7. ^ Wahl der bayerischen Delegierten zur 12. Bundesversammlung Landtag of Bavaria, press release of 17 March 2004.
  8. ^ Hans von der Burchard (April 25, 2016), POLITICO Pro’s Morning Trade: Breaking bread with the president Politico Europe.
  9. ^ Advisory Board Deloitte.
  10. ^ Board of Trustees Deutsches Museum.
  11. ^ Board of Trustees Konzertgesellschaft München.
  12. ^ Board of Trustees Mozarteum University of Salzburg.
  13. ^ Active Members in the Patron’s Association Salzburg Easter Festival.
  14. ^ "Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler receives „Großer Tiroler Adler" medal from the state of Tyrol". Schaeffler. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "The World's Billionaires: #201 Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler". Forbes. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  16. ^ Press Releases: Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler receives ÖkoGlobe 2011 award for Personality of the Year; Schaeffler AG; September 12, 2011
  • Press Releases: Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler receives the Karmarsch Medal from the Association of Friends of Hanover University; Schaeffler AG; December 3, 2007
  • Press Releases: Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler is awarded the Cross of Merit, 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for special services to the nation; Schaeffler AG; October 5, 2007

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