In 1911, Hermann Franke founded his own sheet metal business in the small Swiss town of Rorschach. The expansion of the production facilities as well as the optimization of logistics and transport routes meant relocating to Aarburg, which is where Franke's headquarters are to this day.
After the death of Hermann Franke, his son Walter took over and initiated the company's global expansion. In 1975, there was a change of ownership: Friend Willi Pieper took over Franke and continued to expand it across European borders. In 1989, his son and the current owner Michael Pieper joined the company. In 2013 he handed the role of managing the Franke Group to Alexander Zschokke. A CEO change took place in 2018: Patrik Wohlhauser takes over the leadership of the Franke Group. Together with the current management, he leads an enterprise with 9,000 employees on 5 continents.
(Walter Franke era 1911 – 1939)
Sheet metal business founded by Hermann Franke on April 1, 1911 in Rorschach, Switzerland.
Production of the first sink unit made of galvanized copper sheet as well as of oven tops, roof windows and dormers. 30 employees.
Breakthrough in the Swiss market with first stainless steel sink unit. Change of location to Aarburg bei Olten, and a new factory and office building built to accommodate strategic growth plans.
Production of seamless stainless steel sink units with new welding technology and introduction of series production.
(Walter Franke era 1939 – 1975)
Hermann Franke dies suddenly, son Walter takes over.
Pioneering work in the standardization of private kitchens together with the first combination sinks, and the first built-in cooker with hinged lid. 100 employees.
Expansion of the factory facilities in Aarburg, first exports to European neighboring countries. Founding of the first foreign subsidiary in Ettlingen (Germany). Opening (1948) of the first Mövenpick restaurant equipped with an industrial kitchen by Franke. 400 employees.
Production doubles, export grows and the new industrial kitchens division is opened. And: complete fitted kitchens are produced (Franke standard kitchens), invention of the sink standard for commercial kitchens, enabling the catering standard and anchoring of the Franke system concept. 750 employees.
Change of name to a public limited company, further expansion – including 13 new subsidiaries, construction and installation (1972) of the first McDonald's kitchen in Munich. 2600 employees.
(Willi Pieper era 1975 – 1989)
Due to Walter Franke's health problems, friend Willi Pieper takes over ownership.
First expansion outside Europe after acquiring the Progressive Corporation in Philadelphia, US.
Franke supplies the first system kitchen at McDonald's in the US, under CEO John F. Strasser. Building a global brand and introducing the division structure as well as promoting the global development of defined core businesses with sights on becoming number one. 1986 – 75 years of Franke. 2200 employees.
(Michael Pieper era 1989 – 2013)
A new generation – Son Michael Pieper takes over management of the Franke Group, hailing global expansion under the slogan, 'concentrate and dominate' – with the claim to meet local needs with optimized services. Strategy in line with core activities.
Acquisition of Carron Phoenix in Scotland segways the company into the production of synthetic sinks, own factories established in Poland and Czechoslovakia. 1990 The first McDonald's restaurant opens in Moscow.
Two production plants open in China and own operations launched in Turkey, Portugal, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. Major acquisitions including Hackman Meka Group in Finland, Blefa in Germany, Federal Home Products in US, Kindred Industries in Canada, and Douat in Brazil.
Franke builds a plant for sink production in India and takes over the sink manufacturer City Metal Products in South Africa, further expansion of existing locations and market development through acquisitions in Europe, US, Australia, Asia, and Africa.
Two important reorganizations of the Franke Group to create a future-oriented structure, further expansion of the global leadership position through more than 20 acquisitions, including bremer Kaffeemaschinen and Aquarotter in Germany, the Italian Faber Group, and Defy Appliances in South Africa.
100 years of Franke, 70 companies worldwide in 40 countries with 10,500 employees.
Handover of the operational leadership to Alexander Zschokke, introduction of the One-Franke strategy to reduce complexity in all divisions and the setup of central services. Further global expansion, including through acquisitions such as Sertek in the USA or through strategic investments in Ellikor in Russia, Duravit in Germany, and Mamoli in Italy.
Change of CEO at the Franke Group: Patrik Wohlhauser takes over the management.