HERZOGENAURACH, Germany, Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Since 1994, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) - a non-profit policy institute affiliated with Johns Hopkins University - has awarded the Global Leadership Award to outstanding business leaders who contribute to cementing the German-American relationship through their entrepreneurial work. Award winners in previous years include Dr. Dieter Zetsche (Daimler), Michael Diekmann (Allianz) and Virginia M. Rometty (IBM). Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thumann was presented with the award in front of an audience of over 400 corporate leaders, policy experts and previous award recipients from the U.S. and Germany. In his speech, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Reitzle, chairman of the supervisory board of Continental AG, recognized her contributions to the German-American relationship and her crucial role in developing her business into a leading innovator and a front-runner in the global market: "Over the past 20 years, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thumann has set the course for a new era and personally played a crucial leadership role in shaping the company with her engaging ways, her expertise, with a lot of hard work and with the decisions she made. And most of all: She moved forward decisively to make Schaeffler a true 'global player'." As shareholder of the Schaeffler Group, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thumann, together with her son Georg F.W. Schaeffler, is continuing the lifelong work of her husband Dr. Ing. E. h. Georg Schaeffler who died in 1996. On the occasion of the award ceremony, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler-Thumann emphasised the importance of the German-American relationship: "I am delighted to receive this award and say thank you on behalf of the 85,000 Schaeffler employees worldwide. The United States of America has been one of the Schaeffler Group's most important partner countries for around 50 years. So we also see this honour as motivation to continue our engagement in America in the future with high energy."