Margarete Müller-Bull.

Berlin temperament with Swabian virtues.

At the start, Margarete Müller-Bull’s CV resembles that of many from her generation: she was born in Brandenburg an der Havel as Margarete Bull, nicknamed Marga, on 1 February 1908. She grew up in a middle-class household; she went on to charm school and completed an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk (!) before the war struck with all its terror, taking her to Esslingen to work. Even her marriage to the head of the company to which she was assigned is not all that unusual.

But at this point, Marga breaks the mould and her life began to take a different course from the traditional ‘3 Cs’ route – children, cooking, church. Her personality begins to show through: after the war, Karl Müller was detained by the occupying forces. And so it was left to Marga to run the business independently and on her own for many months until her husband returned. By this point, she had already been infected by the desire to do what she wanted; and as a result, she began to take a more active role in the company policy and to add her not-so-quiet voice to determining the company’s strategic direction.

Karl Müller died in 1959. Marga was finally able to hold the reins and she refused to let them go until she noticed that her own energy was slowly ebbing away. But by that point, she had already achieved a great deal: she had transformed her husband’s company into a business with some 300 employees, production plants at 3 sites and a global sales network.

You might well ask where Margarete Müller-Bull got her energy from: she spent her hectic days dealing with all the company’s decisions but also enjoyed travelling (particularly cruises), was an enthusiastic hunter, dedicated her time to various associations, actively worked as an animal breeder for many years and stayed in touch with both Swabian fashionable society as well as her childhood friends from Berlin. She had no children; and perhaps that explains her endless drive for action.

On 17 March 2002, Margarete Müller-Bull passed away at her home in Esslingen aged 94, after a long, fulfilled life.