Hans Georg Naeder, CEO of Otto Bock Health Care LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, been named the national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® for Germany.
Otto Bock Health Care LLC is the North and South American corporate headquarters of Otto Bock Healthcare, GmbH, based in Duderstadt, Germany. Otto Bock has more than 3,500 employees worldwide and produces over 20,000 types of prosthetic and orthotic components, rehabilitation products, and technical plastics, and also provides information technology services.
The competition for "Entrepreneur of the Year" takes place in 30 countries and considers nominees in five categories: industry, trade, service, information technology, and start-up. Naeder won in the industry category.
This was the is the seventh time the competition has been held in Germany, and to judge the most successful companies, the expert jury placed special value on the following four criteria: employee orientation, innovation, company commitment, and the company's future potential.
Naeder, grandson of the company's original founder, Otto Bock, said "This kind of honor is a great recognition of the abilities of my colleagues-in particular of my management team. It's excellent motivation for all of us."
Winning the German national title puts him in the running for the World Entrepreneur of the Year competition in 2004, where the winners in each category will compete with the national winners from 30 other countries. The 2003 winner in the United States is John Mackey, chairman, CEO and president of Whole Foods Markets, Austin, Texas.
"Hans Georg's visionary leadership and fearless thinking have set a wonderful example for all of us," said Bert Harman, president and CEO of Otto Bock Americas, "And the fact that he's now in the running for World Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004 only strengthens this message."
Otto Bock, which is privately owned, grew 10 percent on a worldwide basis in 2002, the company reported. US operations have doubled over the last three years, making North America Otto Bock's fastest-growing market, according to the company.