Andy Rihs, one of the founders of Phonak, died of complications from leukemia on April 18. He was 75 years old. Known for his tremendous foresight, creative spirit, and entrepreneurial passion, Rihs, along with Beda Diethelm and his brother “Jöggi” Rihs, joined AG für Elektroakustik. The three of them developed and shaped the company into Phonak, now part of Sonova.
A colorful figure in the industry, Rihs oversaw the development of Phonak into one of the world’s most successful hearing aid manufacturers.
“We all knew Andy as a very approachable person with a great sense of humor, grand visions, and ambitious goals. He knew how to inspire and motivate his business partners and colleagues and offer them attractive prospects. He was never scared to take necessary risks in business if it meant moving up to the next level. He was never the kind to set his sights low. And if an idea failed to take off at the first attempt, this gave him precisely the incentive he needed to try again – and to successfully overcome any obstacles this time round.”
–Sonova Board Chair, Robert Spoerry
During Rihs’s tenure at Phonak, the company grew from a small, backwater hearing aid manufacturer to a global player that now boasts sales of more than CHF 2.5 billion and a global workforce of over 14,000 employees. In addition to his work at Phonak, Rihs was the owner of the BMC Racing Team, a professional bicycling team.