Messer has been awarded the Axia Award 2016 in the ’Best Family Successor’ category, with the event carrying a theme of ’Preserving and Continuing Tradition’.

Stefan Messer accepted the sustainable management award, which was jointly presented by Deloitte and the WirtschaftsWoche business magazine.

The Messer Group has been a producer and supplier of industrial gases for over 100 years, primarily in Europe and China. The company has come through turbulent times since its founding in 1898. Having averted bankruptcy in 1999, the founder’s grandson, Stefan Messer, restored the gas manufacturer to its former size and transferred ownership back to the family.

“I believed in the business, so I decided that the family would keep a stake in it,” said Stefan Messer.

This involved Messer taking a lot of risks: the sale of the group’s most important national entities, US, UK and Germany, allowed him to buy out investors who had acquired former shareholder Hoechst’s stake in 2001.

Stefan Messer has been presented with the award of ’Best Family Successor’ for his tireless efforts in the face of much internal and external resistance.

Holger Lösch, member of the executive board of the BDI, Germany’s federal industry association, explained, “Both economically and socially, Germany needs successful business succession in the SME sector. This is the only way to maintain and secure investment, innovation and jobs across generations and throughout the country. The nationwide Axia Award is presented for this with good reason.”

Stefan Messer (third from left) together with Sophie Dubbick, Marcel Messer, Jenjira Messer, Diana Buss and Andrea Launer at the award ceremony in Hamburg.

Stefan Messer (third from left) together with Sophie Dubbick, Marcel Messer, Jenjira Messer, Diana Buss and Andrea Launer at the award ceremony in Hamburg.