Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Ferdinand Rüesch-Ebneter, founder of Gallus Ferd. Rüesch AG and of the international Gallus Group, died in St Gallen on September 9 2010, aged 86. Born in 1924, Ferdinand Rüesch began his professional training as an apprentice mechanic in his father’s workshop, which manufactured machines and scales, carried out maintenance work on printing machines and acted as the calibration centre for the canton.

After completing his military service during the Second World War, he spent two years at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce (Business School) in Neuchâtel. In 1949 he graduated from the Cantonal Technical College in Burgdorf as a mechanical engineer. After gaining practical experience with a number of English printing machine manufacturers, the young engineer joined his father’s business where he worked in sales and was also involved in the assembly and commissioning of machinery in America.

Probably the most influential event in his professional career was meeting Stanton Avery. Rüesch recognized the potential of Avery’s inventions in the field of self-adhesive materials and, when he took over his father’s business in early 1953, began constructing reel-fed machines for self-adhesive labels. In 1957 he introduced the prototype of a translative machine system, precursor of the Q 33 (later the Gallus T 180), which was still being sold until the mid-1990s.

Partnerships with major EDP companies resulted in prototypes of systems for manufacturing printed and pre-stamped punch cards that were sold around the world. With the Gallus V 330, A 160, R 160, R 200 and R 250 machine systems for making self-adhesive labels and similar products, the St Gallen company established itself as one of the world’s leading providers of reel-fed label printing machines.

Under the aegis of Ferdinand Rüesch, developments were made which led the way for the whole industry, such as in translative and variable web feed systems, flat-bed and semi-rotary die-cutting units and the rotary screen printing system RSS, where he turned a laboratory model into a high-specification, printing system with its own stencils. In 1993, his life’s work was honored by the Labelex Exhibition Group and Labels & Labeling magazine when he was awarded the title ‘Man of Achievement’. Rüesch was only the second person to receive this award, the first being Stanton Avery.

It is thanks to Ferdinand Rüesch’s initiative and financial support that the CIM laboratory (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) at the St Gallen Engineering College and the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St Gallen (HSG) were founded. The two institutes honored their benefactor by appointing him a lifetime Honorary Senator of the HSG and an Honorary Member of the St Gallen Technical Education Association (GTA).

‘His former employees have lost their erstwhile leader, who put the preservation of their jobs before his own private interests and who was always there for them, even in difficult times – an entrepreneur such as is seldom found nowadays,’ said the company in a statement.