Gebrüder Weiss mourns the loss of Heidi Senger-Weiss

posted on 23rd October 2023 by Eddie Saunders
Gebrüder Weiss mourns the loss of Heidi Senger-Weiss

Gebrüder Weiss, a globally operative full-service logistics provider, has announced the passing of Heidi Senger-Weiss:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our co-shareholder Heidegunde “Heidi” Senger-Weiss, who died at the age of 82 on October 19, 2023. Together with her husband Paul, she steered our company’s fortunes from 1968 to 2004. In the following years (2005 to 2017), she served on our Supervisory Board. She remained closely and wholeheartedly engaged in Gebrüder Weiss until her death.

During her 36 years heading operations, Heidi Senger-Weiss not only had a lasting impact on our organization. With her modern, network-oriented thinking, she inspired an entire industry. As President of the Central Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics, and in various functions at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, she successfully championed the interests of the logistics segment, repeatedly and publicly emphasizing its importance for the economy. Her leadership of the company and its employees turned Gebrüder Weiss into a role model for mid-sized family businesses. In 2015, Heidi Senger-Weiss was inducted into the Logistics Hall of Fame at the German Ministry of Transport in Berlin, making her the first woman to earn this accolade. She has received numerous other awards for her life’s work, most recently the Grand Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria in November 2022. In Heidi Senger-Weiss, Gebrüder Weiss has lost an outstanding individual and a very special person, to whom the company owes so much.

A peerless family entrepreneur
Heidi Senger-Weiss was born in Vienna in 1941, the only child of Ferdinand and Gertrude Weiss. She spent her youth in the Austrian city of Bregenz. After completing a degree in Economics at Vienna’s University of World Trade, she acquired practical experience in freight forwarding in Basel, Rotterdam, Paris and New York. In 1965 she joined her parents’ company. When her father passed just three years later at the age of 66, the then 27-year-old succeeded him as Chief Executive Officer of Gebrüder Weiss. She was ably supported by her fiancé Paul Senger, whom she married in June 1969 in Bregenz. They had three children. Over the next three and a half decades, Heidi Senger-Weiss worked with her husband to realign what was, at the time, a traditional forwarding company with a domestic orientation. Their main focus was on expanding the Gebrüder Weiss network of locations, modernizing its technology systems, expanding its service portfolio and generally internationalizing its operations.

It was on her initiative that the parcel delivery service APS Austria Paket System (subsequently DPD Austria) was established in 1988 together with two partners. In a short time, it became the market leader in Austria’s B2B sector. Heidi Senger-Weiss overcame economic setbacks such as the Oil Crisis and her country’s accession to the EU in 1995 (which reduced its customs handling operations by 70 percent) with courageous internal innovations. Together with her husband Paul, she transformed Gebrüder Weiss into a modern logistics group.

Like few others, Heidi Senger-Weiss promoted social responsibility in the logistics segment from an early age. She was a family entrepreneur to the core, becoming a beacon of dedication, dependability, and respect for her employees. She once said, “I never thought of myself as the best freight forwarder around. My talent lay in motivating people and securing their commitment, so that they were enthusiastic about their work and eager to embrace causes.”

Heidi Senger-Weiss provided further insights into her life in an interview she gave to the Gebrüder Weiss magazine ATLAS in 2015: