Our History & Innovation

We have come a long way since the company was founded in 1941, and we have big ambitions to grow. Take a look at our history to get a taste of what we can achieve.

1941 - FOUNDATION

Engineer Martin Hilti (1915 - 1997) and his brother Eugen (1911 - 1964) founded Hilti Maschinenbau OHG in Schaan, Liechtenstein.

1948 - PATENT APPLICATION

Martin Hilti turns his attention to fastening technology for the first time and acquires a patent. At the beginning of the 1950s, hand-drive tools and actuated nail guns are launched.

1952 - SALES

Hilti negotiates a sales cooperation in Italy – its first international sales agreement.

1957 - BREAKTHROUGH

The DX 100 is the first powder-actuated tool in the world, marking a technological breakthrough for Hilti.

1962 - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Hilti is already operating in around 30 countries.

1964 - FAREWELL

Eugen Hilti, one of the company cofounders, dies on November 20 at the age of 53. As an outstanding organizer, he greatly contributed to the expansion of the company in Schaan. He was also deeply involved in the State Apprentices Commission until his untimely death.

1967 - POWERFUL INNOVATIONS

With the introduction of the Hilti TE 17, the first electro-pneumatic hammer drill.

In the same period, Hilti develops the first mechanical anchor systems.

1970 - INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTION FACILITIES

The first international production facility opens in Thüringen, Vorarlberg (Austria).

1971 - EXPANSION

A production facility opens in Kaufering, near Munich (Germany); more production facilities follow all over the world.

1973 - EXTENSION

The newly established Hilti Entwicklungsgesellschaft (HEG) in Munich (Germany) develops drilling and mounting technologies and anchor systems.

The company broadens its management base. A four-member Executive Board takes up its duties.

1975 - ON BOARD

Three deputy members are appointed to the Executive Board. Michael Hilti joins the company and takes over the area of marketing and sales.

1980 - REALLOCATION AND SECURING THE COMPANY’S FUTURE

Formation of the market regions America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Establishment of the Martin Hilti Family Trust.

1982 - APPOINTED

Michael Hilti is appointed Vice Chair of the Executive Board.

1985 - FOCUS

The product areas anchor systems, direct fastening, and drilling and demolition are realigned as fully functioning product divisions. Every division comprises the functions of product management, R&D, logistics, controlling, purchasing and production.

1986 - LEADERSHIP

Presentation of “Strategy 2000” which focuses on market segmentation for the first time. In addition, introduction of a globally uniform corporate culture under the motto “Leadership Makes the Difference”.

1990 - MANAGEMENT CHANGE

Martin Hilti cedes the position of CEO to his son Michael. He himself remains Chairman of the Board of Directors.

1991 - GLOBALIZATION

Continuous build-up of international market organizations. Other branches follow, such as in Russia, South America and Asia. Globalization begins for Hilti.

1994 - TRANSITION

Martin Hilti cedes the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors to Michael Hilti and remains on the Board as honorary president. Pius Baschera is appointed CEO. For the first time, someone who is not a member of the family takes over the leadership.

1996 - CORE BUSINESS

The new Champion 3C Strategy is based on customer, competence and concentration.

1997 - LEGACY

Martin Hilti, cofounder of the company, dies on August 19 at the age of 82.

2002 - NETWORKING

Launch of globally standardized business processes and data, which turn out to be the basis for later substantial gains in efficiency and productivity.

2003 - AWARD

The Hilti Group is awarded the “Carl Bertelsmann Prize” for its exemplary corporate culture.

2004 - CULTURE

“Leadership Makes the Difference” is replaced by “Our Culture Journey”. A significant aspect of the new corporate culture is regular training and courses for all employees worldwide.

2006 - CHANGE IN THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

At the end of the year Pius Baschera hands over responsibility to Bo Risberg as the new CEO. Baschera becomes chairman of the board of directors. Michael Hilti remains a member of the board of directors.

2009 - PRODUCTION PLANTS

Hilti opens its eighth production facility worldwide in Matamoros (Mexico).
The other production facilities are in Schaan (Liechtenstein), Thüringen (Austria), Kaufering and Strass (Germany), Zhanjiang and Shanghai (China) and Kecskemét (Hungary).

Financial Crisis

Turnover sinks by 20 per cent and prompts company reorientation.

2014 - TOP MANAGEMENT

Christoph Loos becomes the fifth CEO in the history of Hilti.

Strategy

Under the leadership of the new CEO, the company aligns its strategy for the coming years. A key aspect of the “Champion 2020” strategy is differentiation through premium products.

2015 - INNOVATION CENTRE

A new and modern innovation centre for more than 450 employees is inaugurated at the Hilti headquarters in Schaan, Liechtenstein. Relocation The American headquarters are relocated from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Plano, near Dallas, Texas. Turnover For the first time, Hilti breaks the US$ 1 billion turnover threshold in North America.

2016 - COMMITMENT

Hilti completely renovates its headquarters and the company premises, signaling its commitment to the location of Liechtenstein.

A message from Michael Hilti

Media release date – 2016

75 years of Hilti – you may wonder if that is old or young? Without question, the company has never been younger and more dynamic than today. This gives us comfort and certainty that we have done many things right and well in the past. It goes without saying that our history is not a seamless success story. We too have lived through crises but we have always grasped them as opportunities to reflect about the world around us and ourselves, to initiate change and to grow.

Hence, our 75-year-old history has not only been characterized by renewal and transformation but also by our ability and openness to accept change. Martin Hilti, my father and co-founder of Hilti, has played a key role in this. He wanted his company to be an «enterprise of entrepreneurs», made up of people with a high degree of self-responsibility and initiative. This continues to be the case today. By putting people and performance center stage, we create an environment of permanent challenge and support. Thanks to this interaction, we function as a global team that is constantly encouraged to excel and never stands still. In this light, we are mainly looking ahead in this jubilee year.

Something we can do with confidence, because we stand on solid footing: with a highly professional global team that is growing and developing constantly, with a corporate culture that defines our identity, with clear objectives and a family that thinks and acts long-term as our sole shareholder.

75 successful years, driven by permanent innovation in everything we do, characterized by unparalleled customer proximity and supported by more than 23,000 highly committed team members all over the world. All this provides an excellent foundation to build on for the next 75 years. And it’s what fascination Hilti is all about – today and tomorrow.

Yours cordially,

Michael Hilti

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