SPIE mourns the death of Lothar Späth, former 16-year Chairman of Jenoptik. Späth was Chairman of Jenoptik AG when it was established in 1991 as the legal successor to the previously publicly owned (VEB) Carl Zeiss Jena (Germany). He had been charged with closing down the historic operation, but saw the industry's potential in the area, and instead reorganized and expanded the optical engineering company, transforming it into a public company listed in 1998.
Jenoptik's success and the restructuring of today's Carl Zeiss Jena helped revitalize the optics industry throughout the region. As a result, Jena, once the cradle of optical technology where Zeiss, Schott, and Abbe established a science- and technology-based industry from what had been essentially a craft, has since reclaimed its role as a innovative centre for optics.
Späth passed away on 18 March at the age of 78.
Späth was honored with the SPIE Visionary Award in 2009.
You can read more on Späth in the Jenoptik press release.