From 1972 to 1978, Prof. Dr. h.c. Lothar Späth was party chairman of the CDU in the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg. In 1978 he became Minister of the Interior and finally Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg from 1978 to 1991. Moreover, from 1979 to 1991, he served as party leader of the CDU Baden-Württemberg and was thereafter appointed its honorary leader. Baden-Württemberg is among the most prosperous states in Germany and is one of the wealthiest and most innovative regions in Europe.
In 1991, Lothar Späth moved into the private sector and took over the management of Jenoptik GmbH (former VEB Carl Zeiss). Within a few years, he successfully changed the former state-owned company into a modern, leading high-tech manufacturer. With this achievement, he considerably contributed to the city of Jena that developed into a boom town for modern technologies. In 2003, he left the board of management to become Vice-Chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe and Chairman of Merrill Lynch Germany and Austria in 2005. He advised entrepreneurs of numerous start-up and growth businesses in the high-tech and media industry by serving on supervisory and advisory boards.
Lothar Späth is Chairman of the supervisory board of Herrenknecht AG, a world wide leader in tunneling machines/ systems, and of J&M Management Consulting AG. He is strong advocator of the venture capital industry and is actively supporting Grazia to identify and support young, high-potential companies in Germany.
Lothar Späth has written several successful books on topical subjects. He is a popular lecturer who speaks all over Germany and has been a chat-show host on different TV programmes. He was President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Eastern Thuringia and he holds an Honorary Professorship of Media and Contemporary Diagnosis at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.