Martin Wedel, the managing director of purchasing and procurement at the Martin Bauer Group and grandson of company founder Martin Bauer, died on September 21, 2016, at the age of 62, after a battle with cancer. Wedel had been involved with the Martin Bauer Group from a young age, inspired by the examples of his grandfather and his father, Hans Wedel. According to a press release issued by the Martin Bauer Group on September 23, 2016, Martin Wedel “was well known not only for his good sense of humor but for his social involvement as well.”1
Wedel was born in 1954 in Vestenbergsgreuth, Germany, the first child of Hans and Sofie Wedel-Bauer. During his childhood, he often accompanied his father on trips to the Balkan Peninsula to visit suppliers of the botanicals used by the Martin Bauer Group, which has grown to become the leading botanical supplier in the world. This early exposure to the business allowed him to learn the intricacies of the tea industry, leaving him well positioned to join his father and grandfather’s business in 1978. Later, his younger brother, Adolf, joined him.
As the focus of the company shifted from herbal raw materials to medicinal tea formulations and standardized extractions, Wedel stayed innovative throughout the changing demands in supply. He helmed the purchasing and procurement department as it sought new supply regions and markets, and diversified its growing range of products to meet the needs of clients. Under his leadership, the Plantextrakt subsidiary developed the company’s first line of plant extracts in 1980, followed by phytopharmaceutical extracts in 1989. The Martin Bauer Group processes tens of thousands of tons of raw materials from more than 50 countries, but some of that production occurs near its headquarters in Vestenbergsgreuth. Wedel’s extracts divisions (which now include the Finzelberg company, a maker of phytomedicinal extracts) promote sustainability among their raw material suppliers, and they now represent a key success area for the company.
In addition to his dedication to his business, Wedel was deeply involved with his local community. He was the chairman of his father’s charity, the Hans Wedel Foundation, which promotes employment in Vestenbergsgreuth and the conservation of Christuskirche, the local Lutheran church, which was built in 1959. He also served as a member of the town council for more than 30 years. On Wedel’s 60th birthday, Mayor Helmut Lottes personally honored Wedel with a certificate of honorary citizenship. A press release from the Martin Bauer Group issued on April 16, 2014, noted that the community was “particularly appreciative of Martin Wedel’s humor, with which he could relax some difficult situations, and his uncomplicated way, [which] he has always maintained despite his position.”2 He was also an honorary member of the local soccer club, TSV Vestenbergsgreuth, which was founded by his father. Wedel earned recognition on a national stage, as well. In 2015, he received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in honor of his long and successful career and his service to the community and botanical industry.
Wedel is survived by his wife Anita, sons Martin, Viktor, and Jochen, daughter Sofie, and brother Adolf, who still serves as managing director at the Martin Bauer Group.
- Following a long and serious illness, Martin Wedel, successful entrepreneur and a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, has died at the age of 62 [press release]. Vestenbergsgreuth, Germany: Martin Bauer Group; September 23, 2016.
- Martin Wedel celebrating his 60th birthday and is an honorary citizen of Vestenbergsgreuth [press release]. Vestenbergsgreuth, Germany: Martin Bauer Group; April 16, 2014. [translated from German]