Capital: € 10.5 million
Age: 78
Born: 04/04/1942
Country of origin: Germany
Source of wealth: Entrepreneurs
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

Wolfgang Grupp is an entrepreneur from Germany, owner and managing director in the third generation of the well-known textile company Trigema.

Early life

Wolfgang Grupp was born in Burladingen into a conservative Catholic family of entrepreneurs. He was a student at the Jesuit College St. Blasien and graduated from high school in 1961. He decided to study business administration at the University of Cologne. After completing his university degree in business administration, he took over the management of his father’s company, Trigema. Trigema was founded by Grupps grandfather Josef Mayer and his brother Eugen under the name Trikotwarenfabrik Gebr. Mayer KG in 1919. Wolfgang Grupp’s father, Franz Grupp, was the managing partner of this company.

Career

When Wolfgang Grupp took over Trigema from his father in 1969, the company was heavily in debt. He analyzed the company’s structure and decided to return to the company’s roots. Grupp saw the problem in the high diversification of the product range and reduced it. Through the restructuring of the company, he was able to increase sales from 8.7 million to 28.1 million in the following six years, thereby paying off the company’s debts. This was the beginning of the upswing of the company. To date, the company works with one hundred percent equity. The Trigema concept is based on innovation and products with a regional and fair production method. Production according to fashion trends, however, is of secondary importance for the company. Trigema is the only German company that only produces in Germany and has not outsourced any part of the production chain to cheaper foreign countries. The company acted as a pioneer for the cradle-to-cradle principle more than 10 years ago and expanded the proportion of articles made from organic cotton. This pioneer role enabled Trigema to expand its profile. Furthermore, all textiles are designed in Burladingen, where the company is located, and production takes place exclusively in Germany. Wolfgang Grupp currently has around 1200 employees. All of his employees earn above the statutory minimum wage and Grupp guarantees all children of his employees a job at Trigema that is subject to social security contributions. Trigema products can be found in our own online shop and in our own Trigema shops. The company also produces for corporate customers by order. Since Grupp has taken over the company, there has been no short-time work and no layoffs. His two children, Bonita and Wolfgang Junior, both work in leading positions at Trigema. His wife Elisabeth will decide which of the children will lead the company as managing director in the future. In addition to his work as a textile entrepreneur, Grupp is very socially committed. With his wife, he founded the “Wolfgang and Elisabeth Grupp Foundation” and thus supports projects and people in need in his home region of Burladingen. There are several television documentaries about Wolfgang Grupp and his company Trigema.

Career highlights

Wolfgang Grupp’s company is the largest German producer of leisure and sports clothing in Germany. In 2019, he received the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class from the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann, as part of Trigema’s 100th anniversary. For his rhetorical skills, Wolfgang Grupp received the Cicero speaker award in the business category in 2005. Grupp became known nationwide through television advertisements with a chimpanzee, the “Trigema monkey”.

Famous quotes

“The fact that we had to introduce a minimum wage in Germany at all is a shame for us entrepreneurs.”

“I’ll stay here until I die.”

Success tips

In an interview, Grupp revealed his secret of success:
1. Grupp has constantly reinvented itself and its company and adapted its corporate strategy to the changed market.
2. Grupp pursues fair pay, flexibility and independence in its company.
3. He is not focused on the growth of his production number, but on innovation.
4. Grupp uses itself as a brand ambassador and runs few high-priced marketing campaigns.

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