Hermann Schlosser, Businessman
Chairman of the Management Board of Degussa, 1939 - 1959
* 1889, Gießen
† 1979, Kronberg/Taunus
After obtaining his diploma at the grammar school in Giessen, Schlosser became an apprentice businessman at the Meyer & Soetbeer Company in Hamburg, starting in 1908. In 1910 he was given a four-year contract as an employee of the company’s branch offices in the former British India, becoming branch office head in 1912. In summer 1914 Schlosser happened to be on vacation in Germany at the time the First World War broke out. He registered voluntarily at the front, but was wounded a short time later and discharged.
In February 1915 Schlosser began working as a clerk at Deutsche Gold- und Silber-Scheideanstalt (Degussa AG since 1980 and predecessor of the Chemicals Business Area of Evonik) in Frankfurt at the Main. In 1916 he was drafted again, returning to the company only after the end of the war. In spring 1919 he was sent to the Netherlands for nine months, where his job was to resume the foreign business transactions that had since fallen into neglect, especially with the USA. In 1922 he was appointed to the position of Prokurist (authorized signatory) at Degussa, and Head of the Chemicals Department. In 1926 he became an acting member of the Management Board and a full member in 1928. Schlosser gradually took on commercial responsibility for almost all of Degussa’s business areas, except for the Metals Department and those segments that were responsible for carbonization products.
Appointment as Chairman of the Management Board
In October 1939 Schlosser was appointed Chairman of the Management Board of Degussa. In the ensuing period he dedicated himself primarily to the work begun by his late predecessor Ernst Busemann in reorganizing the Group. This included continuing to align the business segments to the economic policy of National Socialism.
In 1933 Schlosser applied for membership of the NSDAP, but was rejected owing to his membership of the freemasons. As Chairman of the Management Board of Degussa he was accepted into the party "through an amnesty of the Fuhrer" in 1939. At the urging of the chemicals industry Schlosser took over as Head of the Chemicals Economic Group at the beginning of 1943, and thereupon its reorganization as well.
In September 1945 the American military government ruled that Schlosser should be dismissed from his post, despite the objections of the central works council, because of this activity and because of his party membership. The denazification court proceedings in 1947 classified him as a so-called Minderbelasteter (“of lesser guilt”) with a two-year probation period; this sentence was later revised in Schlosser’s favor. In 1949 he was again elected to the Management Board, becoming Chairman one year later, a position he held until he stepped down in 1959. Hermann Schlosser invested a great deal of effort into the reconstruction, modernization and expansion of Degussa. He was equally active in helping to put the Chemical Industry Association back on its feet, whose work he wholeheartedly supported. Hermann Schlosser was among the ranks of those entrepreneurs who successfully promoted the case abroad for restoring faith in the German economy.
For his work on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany he was awarded the “Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern” (the German Federal Merit Cross). As Supervisory Board Chairman from 1959 to 1965, and from 1965 as Honorary Chairman, he remained a part of Degussa AG until his death.