Obituary Manfred Schlessinger

On Friday, January 12, 2018 we bade farewell to Manfred Schlessinger. With his passing, we have lost an outstanding entrepreneur and exceptional personality.

Manfred Schlessinger started his professional career as a sales representative at a chemical factory near Zurich. Even then he understood that, in order to be successful, one had to offer the customers some advantages. He chose not to take a fixed salary, but was remunerated according to his sales. He became the most highly paid employee in the company.

So it should come as no surprise that this hardworking man wanted to set up his own business. In order to safeguard raw materials from the Germans during the First World War, Holland sank crucial raw materials in the Zuider Zee. After World War II these raw materials were retrieved and sold against foreign currency.  Manfred Schlessinger was able to buy these raw materials from the Dutch with foreign currency. In 1947 Manfred Schlessinger founded Monopol GmbH in Baden. The name was taken from the Dutch state company responsible for the reconstruction of Holland.

This professional connection was to be a defining factor in his future life and that of his family. His excellent knowledge of French, as well as his particular skills in handling even difficult negotiations, were of special benefit to the Swiss paints & varnishes industry. As Vice President of the Association, he had to take office as President after his predecessor had to relinquish his position due to business changes.

Manfred Schlessinger accepted the presidency as a matter of course and with great commitment. With his professional expertise, he worked through the agenda which had grown ever longer under his predecessor and maintained a connection with the European Association. The board meetings of the Swiss Paint & Varnish Manufacturers‘ Association became professional and efficient.  Thanks to his commitment, he was able to persuade the Director of our Association not to be headhunted by the European Association. Manfred Schlessinger also invested time and effort in successfully managing conflict within the Swiss branch and promoting good relationships between the German and French regions of Switzerland.

Naturally, Manfred Schlessinger’s life was not only work. His wife Jacqueline, his family and the grandchildren were very important to him. He aptly described the role of grandparents: they must take these three C‘s to heart: Cuddle, Cosset and keep Confidences. We remember with particular pleasure our visits to his house in the Brunnmattstrasse in Baden and his attentive hospitality. When issuing the invitation, Manfred always assured his guests that the industry would certainly not be a topic of conversation. Despite this, his house was a place where many business problems were either solved, or at least became less acute.

Dear Manfred, there is so much more we could mention. You had a marked influence on your family, the company and the circles in which you moved, without ever placing yourself in the limelight. Your passing leaves a painful void.

Dr. Otto Weibel (former President of VSLF Swiss Paint and Varnish Indusry Association), January 2018.

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