Without a doubt, one of Robert Bosch’s best decisions was to hire 27-year-old Ernst Ulmer. His first day of work was April 1, 1901 – the day a proud Robert Bosch opened his first factory.

Ulmer, the son of a factory security guard, was tasked with restoring order in the accounting department, where Robert Bosch had discovered embezzlement.

Having passed this test with flying colors, he quickly climbed the corporate ladder. Hardly a year later, he was made an authorized representative and took over purchasing as well as the personnel department. His election to the board of what was then Robert Bosch AG in 1917 marked the pinnacle of his career.

Ulmer left a lasting mark on the company. In 1905, he announced plans to hire the first female employee at Bosch, a typist, surprising the company’s all-male office staff.

Later, during a strike that swept Germany in 1913 and also affected Bosch, he helped broker negotiations between unions and the employers’ association – an area where Ulmer, with his sharply analytical mind and focus on consensus, excelled. Looking back, Robert Bosch said about Ulmer, who died unexpectedly at the age of 51: “He was one of the most loyal and reliable people I knew.”

Read about how Robert Bosch used to find specialists in the Bosch History Blog.


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