Israeli industrialist Eitan Wertheimer has died aged 70 after a severe illness. Together with his father, Stef Wertheimer, Eitan Wertheimer ran the IMC (Iscar Metalworking Companies) group, which was sold to Berkshire Hathaway for $6 billion, and for many years he managed Iscar and Blades Technology, which was sold to Pratt & Whitney.
Wertheimer was born and grew up in Nahariya, the son of Miriam and Stef Wertheimer. He studied at the technological high school Bosmat in Haifa and served in a development unit in the IDF Ordnance Corps. He leaves his wife, the artist Ariela Wertheimer, and five children.
In 2006, Wertheimer and his father made one of the largest deals in Israel's business history when they decided to sell 80% of their most significant company, Iscar, to US billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway for $4 billion. The remaining 20% were sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 2013 for $2 billion. The family became one of the wealthiest in Israel following the sale of Iscar, which was founded as a small factory in Nahariya in the 1950s, and became one of the leading companies in the world for metalworking tools.
In 2006, when Berkshire Hathaway bought control of Iscar, Eitan Wertheimer told the press that it had taken ten minutes in a personal call with Warren Buffett to conclude the principles of the deal. "We weren't short of a penny," he said at the time, "but we had reached the maximum we could and wanted to move on to the next stage." Wertheimer predicted at the time that together with Buffett, Iscar could double itself, and indeed, at least in terms of company valuation, it doubled between 2006 and 2013.
Wetheimer said in the same interview, "As part of this entity [Berkshire Hathaway] we can double ourselves. It gives huge international recognition, and means that I won't have to explain to customers, which are major companies, who and what we are and that we'll be around tomorrow as well. There are things that are easier to do together with him."
Stef Wertheimer (93) said of the founding of the company, "I didn't have work, I had small children, and I lived in a hut in Nahariya. There was no industry in Nahariya, and in my work at Rafael they thought that if I wasn't an engineer, I wasn't good enough. I had to do something at home."
Eitan Wertheimer worked for many years in educational ventures designed to bring progress to Arab and haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) society. In 2000, together with then chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, he founded the Atidim ("Futures") program, which works to integrate young people from Israel's geographical and social periphery into higher education in Israel. In 2011, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology awarded him an honorary doctorate for his philanthropic activity in education.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 4, 2022.
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