Robert (Bob) Bischof is a German, who has lived and worked in Britain for 40 years. He is well known for his outspoken comments on economic, political and industrial issues concerning Britain and Germany. He is convinced that the two countries can gain much by learning from each other.
A regular speaker at conferences and events, he has co-authored a number of books, and had numerous articles published in German and British newspapers on economic issues. He also appears regularly as a commentator on TV and Radio in both countries.
Current positions include:
- Chairman of the German-British Forum in June 2015 with Lord Mandelson as President appointed in March 2019
- Member of the LONDON FIRST Skills Commission with focus on Apprenticeships
- Vice President of the German British Chamber of Industry & Commerce
- Advisory Board Member of OMFIF – the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum
- Former UK Chairman of SCCO International Ltd, a Munich-based business consulting group
- Former Member of the UK Technician Council, a government-funded initiative to create a recognised “Technician” status – part of the BIS ‘Skills for Growth’ program
- Shareholder and former Non-Executive Director of 4Navitas Ltd, who have developed the first Vertical Axle Wind Turbine
In May 1998 the German President honoured him with the Federal Order of Merit (“Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens”) for his “extraordinary contribution” to Anglo–German relations. He served as Honorary Consul for Germany in the North West of England from 1998 till 2003 .
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.
Born on the Baltic island of Rügen, the 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 around £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 through the Treuhand. 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 March 1994 Jungheinrich AG requested him to assist in the negotiation over the acquisition of the failed 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 the venture capital company 3i and employed around 800 people, when he exited.
From 2002 to 2004 he worked on an assignment from Linde AG, Germany to reposition their British subsidiary STILL Materials Handling and return it to profitability.
He served on the advisory board of T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom and assisted LII GmbH, a Frankfurt based chemical company in its defence against a takeover attempt by a rogue private equity company.
He was a Non-Executive Director of Henderson Eurotrust Plc, an investment fund in the City from 1998 till 2009, and Chairman and lead investor of Vitalize Health Products Ltd., a company promoting immune system enhancing products from 2002 till 2011. and NED and investor in 4Navitas Ltd, a British wind turbine maker.
He is presently Chairman of the German-British Forum, Vice President of the German British Chamber of Industry & Commerce, UK Chairman of SCCO International Ltd, a Munich based business consulting group and serves on the Advisory Board of OMFIF, The Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, London.
He has co-authored a number of books, and had numerous articles published in German and British newspapers on economic issues.
He is married with two children and plays tennis, golf and likes skiing and sailing in his spare time.