German Robert (Bob) Bischof has lived and worked in Britain for 40 years. He is convinced that the two countries can gain much by learning from each other.
Well-known for his outspoken comments on economic, political and industrial issues concerning Britain and Germany, he is a regular contributor to a range of newspapers and other publications, including the Financial Times and other national papers.
Current positions include:
- Board member of the German-British Forum
- Board member of the German British Chamber of Industry & Commerce
- Chief Economic Adviser of German Industry UK, in which capacity he has been working with a number of British Ministers to further the UK’s apprenticeship system
- Member of the UK Technician Council, a government-funded initiative to create a recognised “Technician” status – part of the BIS ‘Skills for Growth’ program
- Chairman UK at SCCO International Ltd, a business consulting group
- Non-Executive Director of 4Navitas Ltd: who have developed the first Vertical Axle Wind Turbine (VAWT). A very exciting world first, this is a mid-size Wind Turbine of 30-100KW output. Made with green composite materials, it’s bird and radar friendly with a payback time of around 4.5 years.
- Advisory Board Member of OMFIF, Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum
He has co-authored a number of books, had numerous articles published in German and British newspapers and has frequently commented on TV and Radio in both countries.
Born on the Baltic island of Rügen, his family settled in Hamburg after the war, where he attained his A-levels, trained as a merchant banker and achieved an honours degree in Economics.
In 1967 he joined the Forklift Truck maker Jungheinrich AG, Hamburg and was sent to Britain to set up a new subsidiary. Under his leadership the company grew to a turnover of £Mio50+ and 500 employees by 1989/90, having taken a large slice of the UK market and becoming Jungheinrich’s largest foreign subsidiary.
In 1991 he became Non-Executive Chairman of Jungheinrich (GB) Ltd and accepted Chancellor Kohl’s call (“Kanzler Aktion”) for 100 selected managers to assist with the restructuring and privatisation of East Germany’s ailing industries. Until 1993 he was in charge of the combinat baukema (construction and heavy engineering) with 12 subsidiaries and over 20’000 employees. This was one of the more successful restructuring and privatisation projects. In addition, he served on 3 supervisory boards and was chairman of one.
In April 1993 KPMG, Washington asked him to spearhead the US-AID financed Defence Conversion project in Slovakia, which involved changing production from military (armoured vehicles, tanks) to civil products (trucks, excavators, etc.) as well as finding Western joint venture partners, i.e. generally preparing the companies for privatisation.
In March 1994 Jungheinrich AG requested him to negotiate the acquisition of the failed truck maker Lancer Boss Group and head the company as Chairman and CEO. He successfully restarted and restructured the company. At the end of 1995 he stepped down as CEO and remained part-time Non-Executive Chairman until December 1996.
In September 1997 he acquired a share in the Liverpool based direct marketing and mail order company McIntyre&King and was Chairman until March 2002. The company completed a successful restructuring and investment programme with the help of 3i and employed around 800 people, when he exited.
In 1998 the German President honoured him with the Federal Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstorders) for his “extraordinary contribution” to Anglo-German relations.
From 1998 to 2004 he was Germany’s Honorary Consul for the North West of England. He was an advisor to John Smith, the former Labour leader, helped several shadow ministers in the run-up to the 1997 election and was a member of the Commission for Public Policy and British Business, which determined much of New Labour’s economic policy.
From 2002 to 2004 he worked on an assignment from Linde AG, Germany to reposition their British subsidiaries, in particular STILL Materials Handling and return it to profitability. He served on the advisory board of T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom and LII GmbH, a Frankfurt based chemical concern.
From 2004 to 2008 he served on the Learning and Skills Council National Youth Committee.