MR STEF WERTHEIMER
Founder, ISCAR Manufacturing Company; Member, Knesset (1977-1981)
Honourary Chairman, ISCAR Manufacturing Company
Israel Prize, Special Contribution to Society & State (1991)
Oslo Business for Peace Award (2000)
Unit: Implement/Facilitate Continuous Improvement
Topic: Provide Opportunities for Further Improvement
Stef Wertheimer is an Israeli businessman, former politician and philanthropist who is one of Israel’s wealthiest people. Wertheimer is the founder and former CEO of ISCAR, one of the world’s largest tool cutting companies and one of Israel’s largest companies.
ISCAR began in 1952 by supplying small metal tools to the local defence industry, and had moved into exporting its products within five years. The company’s fortunes rose and rose after this period, until its operations had expanded into 65 countries across Asia and Europe by the turn of the century. ISCAR is now the world’s second largest hard metal cutting tool manufacturer and accounted for about 10 percent of Israel’s economic output by 2002. The story of ISCAR’s rise under the leadership of Wertheimer and his son attracted the eye of billionaire investor and tycoon Warren Buffet, who bought out the company in 2006 for $10b.
Outside of his work with ISCAR, Wertheimer is known for his role as a former politician and for his work in building industrial parks that employ both Arabs and Jews. Wertheimer has invested more than $100m to establish five industrial parks in Israel and Turkey with the aim of fostering high-value skills in the local communities as well as a better understanding between the various groups of people that make them up. More than 250 companies have now been spawned through the project, with around one-third of them in the high technology field.