Ferag founder Walter Reist passes away

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Walter Reist, founder of Ferag – which became one of the biggest developers of mailroom solutions for newspapers, magazines and catalogues – has passed away, at the age of 95.

Pioneer: Walter Reist, founder of Ferag
Pioneer passes away: Walter Reist, founder of Ferag

With his inventive talent, entrepreneurial skills and corporate culture, Reist, once a trained machinist and later a mechanical engineer, became both a world market leader, and a sought-after contractual partner in the field of conveying and processing systems in the printing industry, thanks to his pioneering inventions and developments in the area of production processes.

Just a few years after he founded the company, Ferag AG (Fehr&Reist AG), it had developed into one of the world’s leading companies for mailroom technology in newspaper and magazine production. Virtually all the world’s media titans were regular visitors to the company’s Swiss HQ, including the likes of Robert Maxwell, Franz Burda and Rupert Murdoch.

His systems enabled the growth of publications in the west, in communist countries – Pravda was a customer – and in the developing world.

Reist had 3000 patents to his name, with the Ferag systems revolutionising mailrooms around the world, enabling high speed, ever bigger print runs to be printed after the evening soccer games and be delivered to suburban letterboxes before breakfast the next morning.

As well as being a prolific inventor and corporate leader, Reist was fascinated by the nature of entrepreneurship and its role in society, and set up a Swiss forum 25 years ago, to connect entrepreneurs with business, politics, society and culture, and which still plays an important role today.

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