Sally Windmüller founded the company in 1899 under the name Westfälische Metall-Industrie Aktien-Gesellschaft to produce ball horns, candles, and kerosene lamps for carriages.
Hella's name first appeared in 1908 as a trademark for acetylene headlights. In 1923, the manufacturing family Lüdenscheider Hueck took over the majority of the shares. The name “Hella” was included in the company name in 1986. The most likely explanation for the Hella brand is attributed to Sally Windmüller: He wanted to honour his wife, Helen, in short Hella, and also wanted to use the playful association between this name and the German word heller .
After World War II, the company started to expand, so in 1951 the first subsidiary company was founded in Wembach. Today Hella has six different production manufactures in Germany, which are located in Lippstadt, Bremen, Recklinghausen, Hamm , Nellingen and Wembach.
Early internationalization and the creation of a global distribution network in the 1960s resulted in the company developing one of the largest distribution networks in the industry, including its subsidiaries and partners in numerous markets worldwide. In 1961, for example, the first foreign production plant was founded in Mentone, Australia. Today Hella has more than 100 places of locations in over 35 countries and is operating in the economic region of Europe, NAFTA/South America, Africa, and Asia/Pacific.
Since the early 1990s Hella is also part of several Joint Ventures with other automotive part suppliers. Those Joint Ventures help develop other fields of competence. At the moment Hella cooperates with several different companies, such as Mahle Behr, Plastic Omnium, Samlip, Leoni, Mando, TMD Friction, and, innocent. Joint Ventures are, for example, HBPO and BHTC in Lippstadt. Furthermore, the holding "HELLA Stanley Ltd Pty" with Stanley Electric was founded in 2002, which is located in Melbourne.
In 2008, Hella started a joint venture between Hella and Gutmann Messtechnik, diagnostic specialists, to devote more attention to this area. Also in 2008, it was announced that the company would pay more attention in the future to issues and items that are outside of the traditional automotive domain. That same year, Hella sold Danish subsidiary Holger Christiansen A/S to the automotive supplier Bosch.
Because of strong economical fluctuation, Hella recorded a loss in the fiscal year 2005/06. The management decided for a program to lower the costs and increase efficiency so that in the following fiscal year 2006/07 an operational gain could be recorded. In the fiscal year 2007/08 this operational gain increased again. Furthermore, Hella recorded the second highest consolidated sale of 4,4 billion Euros In the following fiscal years, a constant growth was recorded, which reached 5,3 billion euros in 2013/14.
Since 2017, Hella has spun off brighter AI and Yptokey from their incubator.In 2021, French auto equipment maker Faurecia agreed to buy the Hueck family’s controlling 60 percent in Hella and announced to bid for the remaining shares in a deal valued in total at 6.7 billion euros.
Mr. Yves Andres (MD of Lighting Bus. Group & Member of Management Board)
Mr. Michel Alain Maurice Favre (Chairman of Management Board, Pres & CEO)
Dr. Kerstin Dodel (Head of Investor Relations)
Mr. Marco Dobrich (Head of Sensors & the Technical Centre)
Mr. Carsten Roch (Head of Assisted & Automated Driving)
Dr. Michaela Schafer (CEO of Office & Projects and Member of Supervisory board)
Mr. Jörg Weisgerber (Chief Exec. Officer of Hella Electronics for North and South America)
Recognition and Awards
Mr. Ulric Bernard Schaferbarthold (MD of Fin. & Controlling and Member of Management Board - Hella Geschäftsführungsgesellschaft mbH)
Mr. Bjorn Twiehaus (Member of Management Board)
Dr. Lea Corzilius (MD of HR & Member of Management Board)