HELMUT CLAAS, the long-time Managing Director, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee of the Claas group and one of agricultural engineering’s most significant businessmen, died on January 5 at the age of 94.
Helmut Claas was born in 1926 in Harsewinkel. His parents, August and Paula Claas, managed a small agricultural machinery firm with a workforce of around 100. He completed an apprenticeship as a machine fitter after graduating from school. Practical experience followed in metalworking firms, and further practical training in casting.
After a complementary study of agriculture in Paris, he took over the planning and establishment of a Claas distributor in France, which now operates as Claas France SAS. He joined his parents’ family firm in Harsewinkel in 1958. Here he applied himself initially to his particular area of expertise, which was engineering.
His special focus was always on developing pioneering products and mass-producing them economically. During his era, following the success of the combine harvester model Dominator, came the completely new combine harvester construction the Lexion, which is today the most efficient combine harvester in the world. Also, the Jaguar forage harvester and the large tractor Xerion were developed under Helmut Claas, author of the success story.