Two Prominent MN Business Leaders Die

David Lilly, former president of The Toro Company, died February 12 and Horst Rechelbacher, who founded Aveda Corporation, died February 15.

Two Minnesota business leaders—Horst Rechelbacher, a sustainable health and beauty industry leader, and David Lilly, a longtime leader in business academia and president of a large outdoor maintenance equipment manufacturer—recently died.
 
Horst Rechelbacher died February 15 at the age of 72 in his home in Osceola, Wisconsin after battling pancreatic cancer.
 
An Austria native, Rechelbacher began apprenticing as a hairdresser when he was 14. He moved to Minnesota at the age of 23 and opened his first Horst & Friends Salon in 1965. Rechelbacher first introduced his line of plant-based shampoos in 1977 (to eventually become part of the Aveda brand). He officially founded the sustainable health and beauty product company Aveda Corporation in 1978. Rechelbacher extended his reach in the beauty industry with his Aveda Concept Salons and the Aveda Institute.
 
Rechelbacher sold Aveda to The Estee Lauder Companies in 1997 for $300 million (then the largest sale of its kind) and shifted his focus to Intelligent Nutrients—the Minneapolis-based organic beauty product company that he also founded.

In 2008, Twin Cities Business inducted Rechelbacher into its Minnesota Business Hall of Fame. Click here to read the full story.
 
Minnesota also recently lost another prominent businessman. David Lilly died February 12 at the age of 96, unexpectedly but peacefully, his family told the Star Tribune.
 
A St. Paul native, David Lilly graduated from the St. Paul Academy and went on to receive a degree from Dartmouth College in 1939, according to the Star Tribune. He spent a brief period with the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., before enlisting in the army in 1942, the newspaper reported.
 
Upon his return to St. Paul, Lilly invested in Bloomington-based The Toro Company, where he worked as president from 1945 until he retired in 1978. According to the Star Tribune, Lilly went back to Washington to work as a Governor of the Federal Reserve Board before returning to Minnesota and taking on the role of dean at the University of Minnesota’s School of Management. While at the university, Lilly was appointed vice president for finance and operations before retiring in 1992 at the age of 75, the Minneapolis newspaper reported.