The founding family and its succession

Ingenuity, motivation and community spirit – the three principles of life for the Opländer family.

The Opländer family of entrepreneurs and philanthropists in Dortmund can look back on more than 150 years of private enterprise – a long tradition that all started with Caspar Ludwig Opländer. WILO SE was recently transferred by its fourth generation leader, Dr.-Ing. h.c. Jochen Opländer and his children, Claudia Nüsslein, Jan Opländer and Felix Opländer (✝), into a family foundation, today’s Wilo-Foundation. In doing so, they not only ensured the continuity of WILO SE across the generations but also demonstrated their on-going social responsibility in the areas of science, education, culture and sport and their commitment to preserving and upholding cultural values. In 2019, Oliver Hermes, Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Wilo Group, was appointed entrepreneurial successor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Wilo-Foundation. Oliver Hermes has since embodied the fifth generation of the family business.

Succession: The 5th generation

Oliver Hermes

As Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, Oliver Hermes has been consistently driving the Wilo Group's transformation into a digital pioneer in the industry for years.

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Caspar Ludwig Opländer, (known as ‘Louis’)

26 February 1845 to 10 October 1891

The man was a coppersmith journeyman, who in 1872 founded his own copper and brass factory ‘Kupfer- und Messingwarenfabrik Louis Opländer’. In 2011 his name was given to the family foundation which as been founded as 'Caspar Ludwig Opländer Stiftung'. Since the year 2016 the Foundation's name was changed to the international 'Wilo-Foundation'.

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Louis Opländer

7 March 1873 to 18 May 1962

The life’s work of manufacturer Louis Opländer included many technical innovations, like the machine he developed shortly after the turn of the century to standardise barrel sizes. 

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Wilhelm Opländer

11 July 1901 to 6 February 1984

To this day, the name Wilhelm Opländer stands for technical innovations in heating and air-conditioning (the ‘Louis Opländer’ firm), and in the more recently developed pump business (the company name ‘WILO’ being a contraction of Wilhelm Opländer). 

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Dr.-Ing. h. c. Jochen Opländer

Children: Claudia Nüsslein, Jan Opländer and Felix Opländer (✝)

Dortmund entrepreneur and benefactor, Dr.-Ing. h.c. Jochen Opländer founded the Wilo-Foundation (prev. Caspar Ludwig Opländer Stiftung) in January 2011 together with his three children, Claudia Nüsslein, Jan Opländer (owner of the Louis Opländer heating company, Heizungs- und Klimatechnik GmbH) and Felix Opländer (✝).


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