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Waltraud Lenhart, owner and managing partner of the pole and glove brand LEKI, died unexpectedly last weekend, on April 17, from an undisclosed “short and serious illness” that company representatives have confirmed was not Covid-related. She was 64.
Lenhart took the helm at LEKI in 2012 after her husband, Klaus—then owner and CEO—died in a plane accident. For nine years after taking control of the company, Lenhart “created a solid team designed to adapt and excel in the ever-changing environment of the outdoor industry,” LEKI said in a statement today.
“Waltraud Lenhart gave distinction to LEKI and the outdoor industry with her social and empathetic nature. We will do everything in our power to continue her life’s work in her interest,” said Matthias Hatt, the brand’s current CEO.
Of great importance to Lenhart’s business philosophy, the company said, were the issues of sustainable corporate management and social activism. Lenhart was “especially focused on supporting young athletes and those with disadvantages,” according to the company.
Greg Wozer, LEKI’s vice president, said that Lenhart’s passing is “a heartbreaking loss” for the international LEKI family.
“Waltraud was truly an inspiration in how she led the LEKI brand with kindness and respect as a business strategy,” Wozer said. “Genuinely warm and unassuming, she inspired some of LEKI’s most ambitious achievements in both the ski and outdoor markets. We were proud of her courage and vision and driven by her maternal sense of leadership. She was so much more than just a business leader; she was such a good and gracious friend. It was always a comfort to hear from her and you felt this drive to accomplish things not just for the revenue or income, but because she would be proud and share in the achievement. It was an honor to have known and worked alongside her.”
Lenhart is survived by her children, Friederike and Markus Lenhart.