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In 1954, at the age of 72, Leo Pfluger withdrew from the operative business of Agathon AG and handed over the management of to his two sons Hugo and Leo. In particular, Hugo Pfluger, born in 1923, was to influence the company in the coming decades. His older brother Leo died in 1962.
Between 1939 and 1945, Hugo Pfluger completed his theoretical training as an engineer at the Le Locle technical school, the former watchmaking school. Alongside Biel and La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Locle in the Neuchâtel Jura was one of the three most important locations for the Swiss watchmaking industry. After completing his studies, Hugo Pfluger spent the following two years in England, specifically in the industrial city of Coventry. There he worked as a trainee at the engineering company Wickman on the one hand and attended the Technical College there on the other. In a letter to «his» captain in the Swiss army at the beginning of 1947, he wrote literally: «After a brief stay in Switzerland, I returned to England on 12 January, where I learned the English language in one of the largest and most modern English machine tool factories and at the same time received further technical and commercial training. For some time, I was only too happy to live outside the walls of our war spared country to get to know the real picture of the countries involved in the war».
With Hugo Pfluger’s take-over of responsibility, a new, participative management style found its way into the company. While his father Leo had made all the more or less important decisions himself, responsibility was now shared between several people. This was due on the one hand to his humanistic attitude and on the other to the factual necessity:
In the period between his entry into the company and the handover of management to his sons, the workforce grew from around 30 to 40 employees to around 300, 250 of them in Switzerland. Hugo Pfluger also initiated the further internationalization of the company.
He established and cultivated numerous international business relationships. In addition, the first foreign subsidiaries were established in England and the USA. The share of sales achieved in North America, for example, was almost 30 percent in 1979.
Hugo Pfluger was not only committed to his company, but also to the Swiss machine and tool industry as a whole through his intensive involvement in the work done by associations. For more than 20 years, he was a member of the executive board of the Association of Swiss Machine Manufacturers, a predecessor of today’s association SWISSMEM. He was also President of the International Special Tooling Association (ISTA) from 1979 to 1981 and President of the Solothurn Chamber of Commerce from 1980 to 1984. In 1978, in deep concern for the Swiss export industry, he wrote a letter to the Swiss Federal Council calling on it to actively counter the unstoppable and rapid rise in the value of the Swiss franc. The measures initiated accordingly by the government are probably due at least in part to this commitment.
His humanistic attitude was also expressed in his love for creativity and aesthetics. Already during his stay in Coventry he was inspired by the glass facade of the Wickman company building. Later, together with the architect Fritz Haller, he was to realise a similar concept in Bellach. He was also a follower of the Solothurn artist Roland Flück, who has already realised several commissioned works for the company to this day. Last but not least, he married Madelaine Wille, a ceramist whose creativity he deeply admired, twelve years before his death in his second marriage.
Hugo Pfluger died in November 2000.