Waltraud Lenhart died unexpectedly after a short and serious illness

Waltraud Lenhart died unexpectedly after a short and serious illness

Walking pole brand Leki has announced its owner Waltraud Lenhart has died.

The 64-year-old took over running the company after her husband Klaus died in an aeroplane accident in 2012.

The Kirchheim unter Teck-based firm said Ms Lenhart passed away unexpectedly after a short and serious illness.

It said: “Always putting the interests of customers, partners and employees first, Waltraud Lenhart made this the focal point of her value-oriented thinking and actions, and the company excelled because of it.

“Of particular importance to her was sustainable corporate management and commitment to social issues. She was especially focused on supporting young athletes and those with disadvantages. She always put people first and ran the business in a customer-centric manner putting their needs above the bottom line.

“Waltraud Lenhart leaves behind an extremely stable company with an experienced leadership team that is well prepared for the future. She is survived by her children Friederike and Markus Lenhart, representing the third generation of the Leki family.”

Two managing directors Martin Rominger and Matthias Hatt will lead the company in the future. Mr Hatt said: “Waltraud Lenhart gave distinction to Leki and the outdoor industry with her social and empathetic nature. We will do everything in our power to continue her life’s work in her interest.”

The company has 350 employees internationally. It was founded in 1948 in Dettingen unter Teck by Karl Lenhart, a keen skier, as Leki Lenhart. He turned his company, which manufactured wooden display letters, to the production of poles. The company name comes from the family name Lenhart and the name of the town where it is based, Kirchheim.

The company also has a manufacturing facility in Tachov in the Czech Republic.