FREUDENSTADT, GERMANY - Hans-Joachim Bender has retired as managing director of Robert Bürkle GmbH after 20 years. He will, however, remain a managing partner of the group.

Bender also will retain his position in the VDMA, the German woodworking machinery association, and other related groups, according to an announcement from the company.

Bender, who retired March 31, had taken over management at the pressing and coating equipment manufacturer in 1999. In addition to the wood and electronic industry, Bürkle is involved in photovoltaics. Under Bender's management, the company has been instrumental in the refinement and development of a number of technologies including LED cure coatings, which it  developed in partnership with Phoseon Technology.

Four years ago Bender was awarded the national economy medal for his entrepreneurial and professional achievements. On the personal side, he is a car, ski and sailing aficionado.

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