Helmut List, Chairman and CEO of AVL: Combining Art and Science in the Quest for True Sustainable Mobility

A passion for research and development in mobility trends means a cutting-edge company cannot look only at today and tomorrow. 

Helmut List, Chairman and CEO, AVL

Chairman and CEO: Helmut List

“We have to look beyond and use all our imagination, our energy, our creativity to strive for the ultimate potential,” says AVL chairman and CEO Helmut List. “We owe it to the planet.”

Helmut List was born in Graz, Austria, and completed his mechanical engineering studies in 1967 at the Technical University of Graz. Since 1979, he has held the positions of chairman and CEO of the company that was founded by his father in 1948.

List’s vision and commitment have powered the rapid growth of AVL. Under his leadership it has become a global player in propulsion technology innovation and the wider automotive industry. AVL is the world’s largest independent company for development, simulation and testing concepts, solutions and methodologies in emerging mobility trends.

One of Helmut List’s top priorities is the targeted application of research. This is reflected in the high R&D share in all AVL’s business segments, and in the large number of collaborations with university institutes, locally and globally.

List is also chairman of the R&D, honorary consul of the Republic of Korea, and active in several research associations. During his career he has been an active member of the automotive community as chair and board member in associations, councils and committees, including the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA), International Research and Development Action Committee (IRDAC), the European Automotive Research Partners Association (EARPA) and the Sustainable Surface Transport Advisory Group (SSTAG).

The pioneering spirit is central to the company’s success, and Helmut List embodies that drive in AVL’s cultural journey. With his focus on bringing future technologies to fruition, he understands that expertise alone is not enough. Courage is also required. “Only the courageous look beyond the horizon and make discoveries that lead to outstanding innovations”.

His creativity is not limited to mobility; Helmut List is an avid promoter of arts, culture and creative thinking, and sees the synergy of art and science. In his role as an industry thought-leader, he encourages artists and scientists to engage in diverse projects to bridge the gap between the disciplines, which in turn expand the limits of technology.

As the CEO of an internationally competitive company, he sees it as his duty to contribute to solving social, cultural and environmental challenges — especially regarding environmental protection, sustainability and restricting greenhouse emissions.

Helmut List is dedicated to fighting climate change by applying a multi-energy strategy. With innovative battery and fuel cell concepts, ranging from hybrid to pure electric, e-mobility is a fundamental pillar of AVL’s strategic journey. The chief executive has proven adept at predicting future trends, and has built up broad competencies in the areas such as ADAS/AD and digitalization to accelerate smart and connected mobility.

“Science and technology is in our DNA,” he says, “and we will continue to be open to all innovation and to step forward with confidence to shape the trends of sustainable and climate-neutral mobility.”

This is achieved through AVL’s worldwide network that understands market dynamics, legislation, science and driving experience. “As a company, we are committed to effectively reducing CO2 for a greener and cleaner future.”


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