(06 September 1909 - 10 February 2006)
"How can I be of service?" that was the guiding motto of Karl Kübel, the outstanding entrepreneur, visionary and philantropist, who passed away on the 10th of February, 2006, peacefully at his home.
Karl Kübel was born in Duisburg as the eighth of nine children of the master carpenter Carl Kübel and his wife Maria in 1909. He began his apprenticeship as hardware salesman in 1923. At the age of 23 he formed his own company and over the next 40 years he built up a leading furniture producing company in Europe named 3K. The company employed 3.800 employees at its peak.
Karl Kübel offered his employees an internal partnership contract since the 1950s. Karl Kübel's philosophy was formed by the religiousness of his parents and his own analysis of catholic social teaching. He aimed at making his employees to jointly participate in the development of his company as well to share the profits and finally to build up joint ownership.
During the post war years, Karl Kübel encouraged the building of family-oriented homes and was involved in development policy matters. In the 1960s he began to support development projects in Bolivia, Afghanistan, Tanzania and India.
In 1972, Karl Kübel sold the 3K company and donated DM 72 million (appr. 36 million EUR), representing the entire proceeds of the company sale as well as most of his private fortune to his foundation, the Karl Kübel Stiftung which he founded in the same year.
German Federal President Richard von Weizsaecker awarded Karl Kübel the Great Order of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1988. In 1995, German Federal President Roman Herzog presented Karl Kübel the "Medal of Merit of Foundations" of the Federal Association of German Foundations. In December 1995 the Commercial College of the district Bergstrasse was named after Karl Kübel. Karl Kübel was presented with the Ring of Honour of the city of Worms in June 1997 and in December of the same year with the Badge of Honour of the city of Bensheim.
"How can I be of service?" this motto of Karl Kübel, who dedicated his life to the children and families of this world, will even remain and continue beyond his death.
Karl Kübel passed away peacefully on the 10th of February, 2006, at his home in Wald-Michelbach/Odenwald, Germany.