Seeking and Fostering
Goodness Itself 

"For me, ethics education means supporting lifelong learning of the humanistic values necessary for ethical action." 

Prof. h.c. Dr. h.c. Dipl. Ing.
Karl Schlecht


Life’s core values: trust sincerely; be true, faithful and friendly; be able to rejoice and love; nurture physical and spiritual health. 

Karl Schlecht is the founder of the concrete pump manufacturing company, Putzmeister, which he established as a family firm in 1958 in Aichtal, near Stuttgart. While still a young engineering student, he designed pumps for large-scale plaster application, and founded Putzmeister after graduation to manufacture them, but he was quickly able to adapt his innovative technology for concrete pumping.

Over the next 50 years, he continued to pioneer technological development in the field and Putzmeister grew to become a global market leader and major corporation with 22 subsidiaries. The majority stake in the firm was transferred to the Karl Schlecht Foundation in 1998. 

Among numerous awards and distinctions during his long career, Karl Schlecht was appointed as an honorary senator at the University of Höhenheim in 2002 and later granted an emeritus professorship at Tongji University in Shanghai. He won the Karlsruhe Innovation Prize from the Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, University of Karlsruhe, and was awarded the Diesel Medal for technological innovation in 2010 and the Federal Order of Merit in 2011.   

Prof. h.c. Dipl.-Ing. Karl Schlecht receives an honorary doctorate from Zeppelin University President, Prof. Dr. Klaus Mühlhahn.

In 2012, Putzmeister was sold to the Chinese construction machinery manufacturer SANY Heavy Industry, and Karl Schlecht embarked on his second career, devoting himself to his eponymous foundation. Advised by specialists from diverse fields, he brought his own experience and expertise to the support of numerous educational and scholarly projects. He led the foundation as chairman and CEO until 30 April 2022 when, at almost 90 years old, he stepped down, handing the reins to a reconstituted directorate headed by Dr. Katrin Schlecht. 

He has continued to receive many accolades and prizes over the past decade, such as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s (KIT) Medal of Merit which he was awarded in July 2022 for his active involvement and support for the establishment of the Leadership Talent Academy (LTA), a leadership programme for masters and doctoral students at KIT. The LTA programme has also been launched at other universities with support from the KSG. 

In October 2022 Karl Schlecht was awarded an honorary doctorate by Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen for his engagement and ongoing support of its Leadership Excellence Institute. He also celebrated his 90th birthday. 

In April 2023, the foundation and its founder were honoured as Academic Foundation of the Year by the German University Foundation and the Stifterverband. In Summer 2023, Karl Schlecht assumed the chairmanship of the foundation’s advisory board.

  • "To succeed in business, you must have passion. The deep love for what you do that’s required for such success can be clearly seen among many musicians." 

    Karl Schlecht, founder of the Karl Schlecht Foundation,
    at the opening of FILUM’s new building in 2016

  • Learn more about our founder

    Visit Karl Schlecht's personal website and knowledge platform