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Prof. Franz Wojda (1939–2021): An Obituary

The Vienna University of Technology, the Faculty of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Institute of Management Sciences mourn the death of Em.o.Univ.Prof. DI Dr.techn. Franz Wojda (1939-2021).

[Translate to English:] Prof. Franz Wojda

Our long-time full professor of business administration and head of the former Institute of Industrial Engineering (now Institute of Management Sciences) Em.O.Univ.Prof. DI Dr.techn. Franz Wojda passed away on April 2, 2021 after a long and serious illness. We mourn the loss of a universally appreciated and revered chair holder, an excellent scientist, mentor, doctoral supervisor, supporter and friend.

Franz Wojda will remain a role model with his tireless work at the interface between research, industrial practice and social relevance. The focus of his scientific work - the development of the world of work and its implementation in spaces and organization - is more timely today than ever before; this is shown to us by the changes in the world of work in the wake of the current Covid19 pandemic.

Technology for People 

Franz Wojda completed his studies in mechanical engineering (branch of study: management sciences) at the - at that time - Technical University (TH) Vienna in 1965. In 1973, he became a university assistant at the TH's Institute of Industrial Science, earned his doctorate and habilitation, and just two years later (1975) he was a full professor of business administration and head of the Institute of Industrial Science.

He was instrumental in the introduction of the courses of study in industrial engineering and mechanical engineering as well as business informatics. In his research work, he dealt with "Work organization - a humane working environment". This led to essential course settings for a future-oriented development in this field. He recognized the importance of cooperation in and with companies (industry and service sector) at an early stage and, through his work in management consulting in large-scale projects, also and above all brought it into teaching. The symbiosis of science and practice has always distinguished Prof. Wojda.

Franz Wojda was involved in a wide variety of university committees: in 1980 he was elected chairman of the planning commission of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. In 1996, he was the first chairman of the newly installed Senate of the TUW and speaker of the highest collegial body of universities in Austria. As Senate Chairman, he set essential planning accents in the run-up to the installation of a new organizational law and initiated the new mission statement of the TU Vienna: "Technology for People: Developing Scientific Excellence - Providing Comprehensive Competence."

He followed and shaped the implementation of the University Act (UG) 2002 as Chairman of the University Council of the University of Applied Arts. From 2003 to 2012, Franz Wojda was the executive president of the TU Vienna alumni club. In this capacity, he played a major role in reshaping the alumni organization.

On his 70th birthday in 2009, Prof. Wojda was appointed honorary senator of the Vienna University of Technology for his services.

In addition to his activities at the Vienna University of Technology, Prof. Wojda worked from 1974 to the end of 1999 as managing director and shareholder of Agiplan Planungsgesellschaft Wien and since 1981 as owner of Wojda Gesellschaft mbH, Vienna. The companies deal with planning and consulting of projects for industrial, commercial and service companies as well as areas of the public sector (management consulting, project management, organization and information system planning, facility planning and logistics). From 1989 to 1994 he built up KPMG Management Consulting GmbH in Austria and was chairman of the management board.

For the Future of Technology

As a board member of the TU Vienna Foundation, founded in 2018, Prof. Wojda made a significant contribution to attracting investors for innovative projects and thus securing sustainable support for the development of education, training and continuing education programs as well as research and study projects. The TU Vienna Foundation supports research and teaching as well as further education and innovative projects at the TU Vienna.

A Life for Art

In addition to science, his special interest was contemporary art. Together with his wife Sigrid, who died in 2011, he built up an important collection of Austrian and international contemporary art from 1971 onwards, to which the Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten (Klagenfurt) dedicated an exhibition in spring 2012. Prof. Wojda's involvement with art also led to functions in the art world. From 2003 to 2008, he was Chairman of the University Council of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and from 2002 to 2011 he was Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK). He was a member of the Board of the MUMOK and the Friends of the Secession.

Franz Wojda never retreated into an ivory tower, but always knew how to apply his scientific commitment in an application-oriented way, which meant above all that he thought and acted with an economic orientation. His signature was and still is unmistakable.

We will always remember Franz Wojda as a visionary head, a strong implementer and (in later years) a sensitive art collector and honor his memory.