Widex Co-Founder Passes Away
Erik Westermann 1923-2017
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Erik Westermann, co-founder of Widex, at the age of 94. Erik made it his life's work to build Widex into a strong international company in the hearing aid industry. The story of how Erik and his business partner Christian Tøpholm decided to set up Widex over a bottle of red martini one late evening is well worth. There was only one way forward from that point.
Erik was educated in the textile industry, supplemented by two years at Niels Brock School of Business in Copenhagen and private studies in French and Spanish. Characteristically for Erik, as a determined young man he chose to enter the Danish resistance struggle during the German occupation of Denmark during WWII. HE and his division were captured by the Germans and sent to the concentration camp Neuengamme, south of Hamburg. After four hard months, he was driven by the Red Cross's 'white buses', arranged by Swedish Count Bernadotte, to Sweden, from where he returned home after Denmark's liberation. After the war, Erik was in Spain for two years, where he worked as a correspondent in Vigo and consultate secretary in Barcelona, learned Spanish and laid the foundation for his love for the southern European countries and South America.
When Erik and Christian Tøpholm started Widex, it was natural that Erik would be the outward driving force and responsible for sales, as well as building a network of international distributors who would loyally sell and market the Widex brand in the local markets. Very early on, Erik saw the international opportunities and laid the foundation in the 50s and 60s for Widex's international representation that now has 38 sales companies worldwide. Erik had very close relationships with Widex distributors and was always ready to help them both professionally and privately. There are many of the company's business partners who are saddened at the news of Erik's passing.
Erik was active in Widex to the last day. At Widex's 60th anniversary in 2016, he held a gripping speech, where he both praised Widex employees and thanked our international distributors in their own language. Erik was truly a company man. He was often in his office in the headquarters and as recently as five weeks ago he attended a lunch with Spanish ENT doctors to promote the Widex story. We will all miss Erik Westermann and with his death comes the end of an era but it will be in spirit that he will live on in the pride of the Widex story everday.