Thank you Eric!
Erich Wiegand was what (in German) is called an apparition (eine Erscheinung), and what we would call: a “presence”. This was not only due to his physical stature and his penetrating voice, but also because you always felt: there is someone standing there who knows all the tricks (of our trade).
He was – in the very best sense of the word – a true craftsman in our profession.
It is therefore with great sadness that we learnt that he passed away so unexpectedly, and of course, far too early. We pause in sorrow and we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Angelika Modest-Wiegand and those for whom he was a partner, friend and confidant.
For more than 25 years, Erich Wiegand put his stamp on the ADM. He was a managing director who not only wanted to run the business, but who also wanted to shape it. The board members who led the fortunes of the association with him over this long period, also noticed this – and while it was not always easy with him, that is in fact a huge compliment to the work he put in. Not least thanks to Erich Wiegand, the ADM became the recognized voice of our industry that it is today.
Perhaps his fascinating meticulousness and relentlessness when it came to the quality and regulation of our work was founded in his career as a car mechanic at Jaguar, because we can honestly say that he was always concerned that everything would run smoothly in the engine compartment of market and social research! For that to be achieved, it is necessary to take a close look at all the working parts and insist that others do the same. When it came to self-regulation and quality standards, the rules that separate scientific research from a “survey,” he had very strict views and offered little room for negotiation. His opponents quickly learned that, and it earned him considerable respect, whether you agreed with him or not. Mention his name in professional circles, both inside and outside Germany, and you will quickly become aware of this.
But that was only one side of Erich Wiegand. As a sociologist trained in Frankfurt, he also had a healthy, critical view of the world, perhaps even with a slight penchant for anarchy! And despite all the – what one could call New German – “nerdiness” for his topics, he definitely knew how to enjoy life. He was fond of the theater and enriched many a social gathering with his anecdotes.
Everyone who is active in, or associated with, the ADM and our industry, has a story to tell about Erich. Those stories will be rejuvenated and will circulate again now that no more new ones can be added, and Erich will have a permanent place in the recent history of German market and social research – a place as a person of stature, both professionally and privately.
He did not leave us as he would have wished, without time for a strong statement, or a slightly revolutionary criticism, with that slightly mischievous smile and expression on his face.
We will all remember and miss both for a very long time.
Thank you for the time and the contributions you gave us, Erich!
Rest in Peace.