RIP Helmut ‘Max’ Merkel, 1953-2021

Posted in Germany on Tuesday, 18 May 2021. Print

In April, the international furniture trade mourned the loss of Helmut ‘Max’ Merkel, a long-time industry consultant, the editor-in-chief of German trade magazine MÖBELMARKT, and a prominent and active long-term member of the IAFP.

RIP Helmut ‘Max’ Merkel, 1953-2021

Following a short but serious illness, Max passed away on 15th April, at the age of 67.

Max was born in Baden-Baden in 1953, and started his career at trade publisher Euwid before joining MÖBELMARKT in 1988, where he initially worked as deputy editor-in-chief before setting up his own advertising agency in 1992. In 1999, he returned to MÖBELMARKT, and was subsequently appointed editor-in-chief.

His expertise in this capacity, and as the co-founder and CEO of CRP Consulting, was recognised throughout the international furniture industry. As well as pioneering the first International Furniture Forum Beijing, Max spoke at countless seminars and congresses, and was a valued competition judge and consummate journalist.

MÖBELMARKT reports: “Max Merkel was valued as a friend and advisor not only by us, but also by many colleagues and business partners around the world beyond his professional involvement. Max Merkel had travel in his blood, and was at home at furniture fairs and markets all over the world. Now he has started his last great journey.”

Representing MÖBELMARKT, Max was a valued member of the IAFP, says the alliance's President, Artem Vasiliev: "Max was, without a doubt, the most influential figure in the international furniture and interior market. Crucially, he never used that influence to do harm, but instead supported the organic growth of ideas and processes that he thought beneficial.

“Max practiced unconditional trust in people. Always, and in everything, he relied on prudence, on the good will of those who surrounded him.

“Max was an example to me in many ways – professionally, and personally. His wisdom and diplomatic experience have helped our alliance – and me – on many occasions. When dilemmas arose, some conflicts seemingly unsolvable, we would wonder – what would Max do? And, although he had his own clear opinion based on his values, he did not bake this opinion, or give anyone advice unless they asked for it.

“Max will always be with us – in our hearts, and our memories.”

Furnishing International’s Peter Zapris says: “There can be no other quite like our friend Max, because he set the standard of what it means to be a friend. Rest in peace, dear Max, for the angels have you now … enlighten them, as you did us.”

Furniture Today’s Powell Slaughter writes: “He is remembered by his colleagues at MÖBELMARKT and in the IAFP as an outstanding person, both personally and professionally, who was always willing to share his broad knowledge of the global furniture sector – not only with the publication’s readers, but also with fellow IAFP members. His familiarity with tradeshows in Asia and Europe was a great resource, especially for journalists new to covering those regions.”

"Helmut Merkel has earned the respect and trust of the furniture industry on a global level by doing what a true journalist does: traveling wherever is needed, asking the right questions, writing what matters for the readers" — says Zilahi Imre, Editor-in-Chief of, Romania.

Furniture News’ Paul Farley, the IAFP’s Secretary-General, concludes: “Max was a model trade journalist. He managed to effortlessly combine the roles of storyteller and businessman, while remaining one of the most genuine and genial souls you’ll ever meet.

“Max may have left us far too soon, but he certainly made his mark – and left his innumerable friends and colleagues richer for the experience.”

Max is survived by his wife, Annelore.


The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) is an association of the foremost trade publications from each country, based on quality editorial content and on circulation.