Helmut Claas, the long-time managing director of the Claas Group - a major German agri-machinery exporter - has passed away at the age of 94.
Claas died on 5 January, the agricultural company said in a statement, calling it a 'great shock' for the firm's 11,000 employees.
Claas, born in 1926 in Harsewinkel, Germany, became the business's managing director in 1962.
He was the son of August Claas, who founded the company.
JCB Chairman Lord Bamford led tributes to 'one of the world’s best-known pioneers of agricultural machinery'.
“Helmut Claas has been a very important figure in the agricultural machinery business for more than six decades," he said.
"A passionate farmer and engineer, the worldwide agricultural industry is going to miss him tremendously."
Lord Bamford added: "From one family business to another, I extend my deepest sympathy to Cathrina and all the Claas family.”
Claas' daughter Catherina Claas-Muhlhauser has taken over as manging director of the business.