ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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CEN Secretary General dies, aged 60

Announcement issued by CEN Vice Presidents

New York, Apr 14, 2004

It is with deepest regret that CEN announces the death, following a serious illness, of its Secretary General, Georg Hongler, aged 60, in Brussels on 13 April 2004.

Originally from Switzerland, Georg Hongler was appointed CEN Secretary General in 1997. Mr. Hongler had previously been engaged in the standardization environment as President of SNV (Schweizerische Normen-Vereinigung) and a member of the Board of DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung), the standards bodies of Switzerland and Germany respectively. In addition, he was Vice President of the Board of a School of Engineering. Since 2002, Mr. Hongler had also been a Board member of the Kangaroo Group – a forum that devises initiatives for the further development of the European Union.

As Secretary General of CEN, Mr. Hongler was responsible for the daily management of the organization, including the staff of the CEN Management Centre in Brussels.

Georg Hongler was the driving force in the development of the new CEN strategy 2010 and was strongly committed to the resulting reorganization of the CEN governance structures. Mr. Hongler was one of the key players in turning CEN into a market-oriented organization with a strong commitment to its clients. Amongst his other contributions to this development, Georg Hongler worked tirelessly to elaborate a new financial framework for CEN – in particular taking account of CEN’s close partnership with the European Commission.

During Mr. Hongler’s term of office, CEN’s membership increased considerably through the enlargement of the organization towards Eastern and Southern European countries. The Secretary General was significantly involved in the smooth and fast integration of the new Members into the CEN organization.

In addition, Georg Hongler strongly supported the 'limited lifetime' exercise that aims at a faster delivery of new European Standards. Under his leadership, CEN introduced the so-called 'new deliverables' to meet the needs of industry for faster developments of new specifications, and he was particularly concerned to provide European industry with an efficient first-class service. During his seven years in office, Mr. Hongler was dedicated to a close and productive co-operation between CEN and its sister European Standards Organizations – CENELEC and ETSI. Through regular contacts with their management, Mr. Hongler helped maintain a close liaison between the three organizations. He was also in regular contact with the International Standardization Organization, ISO.

"I have once heard that someone who does not believe in wonders is not a realist. Let me tell you, I am a realist, and I am convinced that we will deliver what is expected from the market," Georg Hongler said once when talking about a new, particularly difficult, standard. Throughout his years in standardization, Georg Hongler remained enthusiastic and maintained a high level of commitment to his work. He never lost the drive to set and achieve new goals and projects.

Georg Hongler was born in December 1943. He graduated in civil engineering from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), after which he took further qualifications in economics and management in both Switzerland and the USA.

He initially worked as Engineer and Project Manager in bridge design and gas distribution, before joining Alusuisse (today Algroup), a large international aluminum company, where he started in Corporate Staff Studies and became personal assistant to the Head of the Aluminum Division. He was assigned to posts in the USA and France, where he was appointed Technical Director of a secondary aluminum smelter.

In 1981 Mr. Hongler was appointed General Manager of the Machinery Sector of Von Roll’s Machinery and Handling Systems Division in Bern, Switzerland. He left the company in 1986 to take up the position of Managing Director in the Wood Fibre Board Business, but rejoined Von Roll three years later as Head of Corporate Staff Technique and Planning. Before leaving Von Roll for CEN, he held the position of Corporate Vice President Business Development.

Mr. Hongler leaves his wife Antoinette and two sons behind – to whom the Vice-Presidents and Members of CEN and the staff of the CEN Management Centre extend their sincere condolences and profound sympathy. We share in their grief and wish them strength and courage. Georg Hongler will always be remembered by his colleagues for his tireless commitment to the cause of European Standardization.

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