Franz Josef Popp

Franz Josef Popp

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Franz Josef Popp

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Franz Josef Popp (January 14, 1886 in Vienna; July 29, 1954 in Stuttgart) was one of three men responsible for the founding of BMW AG and the First General Director of BMW AG from 1922 to 1942.

A number of different candidates have been put forward as the “founders” of BMW AG. In the absence of Karl Rapp, Gustav Otto, Max Friz or Camillo Castiglioni the company would probably never have been born. However, Franz Josef Popp can lay claim to being the prime force in the development of the mobility company we know today. He was “General Director” of the company from its foundation until he was forced to relinquish his position in 1942.

Early years

Popp was born in Vienna in 1886 and in 1901 his family moved to Brno where he completed his university entrance qualification at the local grammar school. He went on to study mechanical and electrical engineering at the local Technical College and qualified with a degree in engineering in 1909. When he returned to Vienna, Franz Josef Popp joined the Viennese company AEG-Union as an electrical engineer. He soon became head of the department for “Electric Trains and Locomotives”, and one of his responsibilities was to develop electric locomotives for the Mittenwald railway. At the start of the First World War, Popp joined the Kaiserliche und Konigliche Luftfahrtruppen or "K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppen" (Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops) as a marine engineer at the Pula base on the Adriatic Sea (in...
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