KBA Chief Hans-Bernhard Bolza-Sch?nemann, Printing Innovator, Dead at 84

By: E&P Staff

Hans-Bernhard Bolza-Schünemann — who introduced numerous printing innovations over nearly a quarter of century as president of the German printing equipment manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG, or KBA — has died at age 84. Bolza-Schünemann died July 23, but KBA and the local Main Post did not announce the executive’s death until Thursday.

Born Bernhard Schünemann to a Bremen family involved in printing and publishing for several generations, the young man was interned by the British as a prisoner of war during World War II. After the war he earned a degree in physics, and in 1951 was awarded a PhD in mechanical engineering and joined Koenig & Bauer as a design engineer in Würzburg, where he was promoted to vice president positions over the next six years.

In 1959, after the premature death of his sons, Hans Bolza, great-grandson of company founder Friedrich Koenig, legally adopted the young engineering executive. Bernhard Schünemann became Hans-Bernhard Bolza-Schünemann, and five years later was named a full member of the board.

In 1971, Bolza-Schünemann began his 24-year tenure as president. In 1995 he joined the supervisory board, serving as deputy chairman until 2006. In addition to products and innovations introduced under his leadership, KBA acquired pressmakers Albert-Frankenthal and Planeta.

According to the company, Bolza-Schünemann identified with principles derived from founders Friedrich Koenig, also a student of physics and mechanical engineering, and instrument maker Andreas Bauer, whose mechanical printing press in the early 1800s would help move printing from relatively small-scale craft to industrial enterprise.

Bolza-Schünemann was credited with many patents, and among other innovations developed under his leadership was the widest newspaper press, the Jumbo-Courier, built in the 1970s. Over much of the next two decade he promoted color keyless inking systems for offset newspaper and other presses. The Association of German Engineers awarded Bolza-Schünemann its Ring of Honor in 1960. The Association of Italian Industrial Engineers bestowed on him the Leonardo da Vinci Prize in 2003.

Bolza-Schünemann served on the boards of the Association of German Manufacturers of Printing and Paper Equipment and Supplies, German Printing Machines Research Association and the Deutsche Museum in Munich. In 1995 he was elected president of Drupa, the quadrennial international trade show for the graphic arts. He was succeeded in that role by his son Albrecht for the 2000, 2004 and 2008 fairs. His son Claus, KBA’s deputy president, succeeded him as Würzburg-Schweinfurt Chamber of Industry and Commerce chief executive.

When, two years ago, Bolza-Schünemann visted U.S. customers, including New York’s Daily News, which was about to install 15 in-line KBA Commander CT color towers, he attended performances by the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The music lover co-founded a local Johann Sebastian Bach Society, which continues to organize an annual Bach Festival, and was a longstanding honorary board member and, from 1990, chancellor of Würzburg’s Academy for Music. On his own and through the Koenig & Bauer Foundation he aided many other cultural activities in the region. And through KBA’s Benno Bolza Foundation he sought to help young engineers’ careers.

Bolza-Schünemann was recognized for these and other civic activities with, among other honors, the Distinguished Service Cross of the Federal Republic of Germany, State Medal for outstanding services to the Bavarian economy, Bavarian Distinguished Service Award, Austria’s Grand Golden Badge of Honor, honorary fellowship of the University of Würzburg, and honorary senatorship of the University for Print and Media in Stuttgart.

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