That was 2019:

80 speakers, 30 large and small panels, keynotes, debates, cross-examinations and much more - around 35 hours of programme in three days!

In 2019, the SZ Wirtschaftsgipfel was again a forum for the major debates that move business and politics. We talked about the current challenges and opportunities for companies in Germany and Europe, about digitization and innovation, about political decisions on direction as well as current events – and what this means for us. All this under our motto “Strong together”! Program 2019 as PDF

Speakers


Our guests 2019

Peter Altmaier
Peter Altmaier

Peter Altmaier


Born in 1958, he is considered one of the closest confidants of Chancellor Angela Merkel. He was Federal Minister for the Environment, headed the Federal Chancellery and since 2018 has been in charge of the Federal Ministry of Economics. However, the Saarlander and convinced European has recently been struggling above all with transatlantic relations - in trade matters.

Michael Bauchmüller
Ana Brnabić
Ana Brnabić

Ana Brnabić


As the first woman in this office, the business economist born in Belgrade in 1975 was elected Serbian Prime Minister in June 2017. Only one year earlier, she had been appointed to the cabinet as minister after having worked in the private sector. As a political career changer, she is still non-partisan today. She has declared household renovation and digitalisation to be the main focus of her work in order to keep Serbia on course for the EU.

Peter Münch
Robert Habeck
Robert Habeck

Robert Habeck


Born in Lübeck in 1969, he is considered the hope of the Greens. Since January 2018, he has been the party's national chairman, alongside Annalena Baerbock. Many believe him to be the first Green Chancellor of Germany. He is actually a writer. "Writing was my life before politics became politics", he says. In 2009 he fought his way into the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein. Until 2018 he was Deputy Prime Minister of the state and Minister for Energy Reform, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas. He is married to the writer Andrea Paluch and has four children.

Silvia Liebrich
Anja Karliczek
Anja Karliczek

Anja Karliczek


In the beginning there was much blasphemy about the Catholic (born in 1971) from Ibbenbüren in Westphalia. There was talk about the Minister of the Fat Bottle. Meanwhile the praising voices are increasing. Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU), banker, hotel manager, business studies, can show first successes, such as the billion-euro pact of the Federal Government and the Länder for science.

Thomas Öchsner
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer


Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been CDU Chairwoman since December 2018 and additionally took over the Federal Ministry of Defense in July 2019. She was born in Völklingen in 1962 and has been a member of the CDU since 1981. In 1999 she moved into the Saarland state parliament, and in 2000 she became the first female Minister of the Interior in Germany. After the 2017 federal elections, she gave up the state office in Saarbrücken in favour of a party office as CDU Secretary-General in Berlin. She is married and has three children.

Nico Fried
Armin Laschet
Armin Laschet

Ministerpräsident Nordrhein-Westfalen

Armin Laschet


Ministerpräsident Nordrhein-Westfalen

Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia and candidate for the presidency of the CDU. Born in 1961, he is considered a close confidant of Chancellor Angela Merkel. If he wins the race for the CDU presidency, he could be nominated as the Union's candidate for chancellor and thus for her succession. Laschet leads a black-yellow coalition in Düsseldorf. He studied law and worked as a journalist. In 1979 he joined the CDU, in 2012 he became chairman of the NRW-CDU. Laschet was a member of the Bundestag and the European Parliament as well as state minister in NRW. Since 2017 he has been head of the state government.

Cerstin Gammelin
Gerd Müller
Gerd Müller

Gerd Müller


Gerd Müller (CSU) has been German Development Minister since 2013. Prior to that he was Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. In his policy, Müller focuses, among other things, on reform partnerships with countries that have made economically promising developments in recent years. He was born in 1955 in Krumbach, Swabia.

Kristiana Ludwig
Markus Söder
Markus Söder

Bayerischer Ministerpräsident

Markus Söder


Bayerischer Ministerpräsident

When Markus Söder joined the CSU in 1983 at the age of 16, he hung a poster of Franz Josef Strauss over his bed at home in Nuremberg. At 27 he moved into the Bavarian State Parliament, at 36 he became CSU Secretary General, and at 40 he became State Minister; first for European Affairs, then for Environment and Health and finally for Finance. In March 2018, Söder - like his idol Strauß - rose to the position of Bavarian Minister President. After the state elections in autumn, he formed a coalition with the free voters. Since the beginning of 2019, Söder has also been chairman of the CSU. The Corona crisis at the latest has made him an actor in federal politics.

Roman Deininger
Stephan Weil
Stephan Weil

Stephan Weil


born in 1958, is not a person with a marked appearance: "Poor, but clean" is Lower Saxony, the state he has ruled since 2013. The lawyer and SPD politician says such things with a very small smile, in which truth is like irony. This reserved manner has earned him re-election - in times of the SPD crisis - and is also appreciated at Volkswagen, where he sits on the supervisory board.

Max Hägler
Ann-Kristin Achleitner
Ann-Kristin Achleitner

Ann-Kristin Achleitner


Some call her the most powerful woman in German business, she herself would not confirm this. Ann-Kristin Achleitner (born 1966) is modest as a person, but as a manager she is very self-confident. The double doctor of economics and law is a professor at the Technical University of Munich with a research focus on venture capital. And she is probably the country's most distinguished supervisory board member. She knows what makes companies tick.

Marc Beise
Zoe Adamovicz
Zoe Adamovicz

Zoe Adamovicz


Zoe Adamovicz knows what founders need. She's founded several companies. She is co-founder of Neufund, a block-chain-based investment and fundraising platform. On the block chain exchange, instead of shares, tokens are issued and traded. The start-up from Berlin wants to democratize corporate financing. Zoe first tried her luck as an artist, but eventually she felt even more comfortable as a founder.

Elisabeth Dostert
Bulent Altan
Bulent Altan

Bulent Altan


A good ten years ago, the space engineer, born in 1977, had to repair a Falcon 1 rocket on an island in the South Pacific. It successfully took off into space - the first successful rocket launch of Space-X. After studying computer science and space technology at the Technical University of Munich and Stanford, he joined Elon Musk in 2004. In the meantime, he worked for Airbus and then founded a venture capital firm to finance start-ups in the space industry. Since March of this year he has been head of Mynaric, a company that develops satellite platforms for laser communication networks in Weßling near Munich.

Dieter Sürig
Sami Atiya
Sami Atiya

Sami Atiya


Born in 1964, he is responsible for the Robotics and Manufacturing Automation division as ABB's executive board member. The Swiss group wants to bring robots into hospitals and laboratories. Atiya joined the company in 2016. From 1997 to 2015, he held management positions in the Siemens Group. Further career stages were at Harald Balzer & Partner, Robert Bosch and the Fraunhofer Institute for Information and Data Processing. Atiya earned his MBA at MIT. He received his doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Wuppertal in the field of robotics, sensor technology and data processing.

Hendrik Munsberg
Joe Bausch
Joe Bausch

Joe Bausch


His first book is called "Knast", and he meant it. Hermann Joseph Bausch-Hölterhoff (born in 1953) studied medicine among many other subjects and worked for a long time as a prison doctor in Werl Prison. He knows a lot of stories from this time, and criminals interest him particularly. In the WDR Tatort he shines as forensic expert Dr. Joseph Roth. Because actually and generally Joe Bausch is above all: actor!

Marc Beise
Nanda Bergstein
Nanda Bergstein

Nanda Bergstein


"Where are the changes," asks Nanda Bergstein (born 1979) in the face of the devastating consequences of our lifestyle. The Director of Corporate Responsibility at Tchibo is concerned about working conditions in the textile industry. She dealt with these conditions during her studies and as an employee of an NGO and consulting firm before joining Tchibo.

Caspar Dohmen
Birgit Bohle
Birgit Bohle

Birgit Bohle


Born in 1973, she has been Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Director of Deutsche Telekom AG in Bonn since January 1, 2019. Prior to this, she had worked for many years in various management positions at Deutsche Bahn. Most recently, she was responsible for Deutsche Bahn's long-distance transport division and thus for the Group's ICE and IC fleet since 2015. She joined Deutsche Bahn from McKinsey in 2007. In 2011 she became Head of Sales. Bohle has focused the business on online services.

Markus Balser
Sophie Chung
Sophie Chung

Sophie Chung


Sophie Chung is a doctor and daughter of refugees from Cambodia. For a while she worked with an NGO in her parents' home country to provide medical care. The topic became the mission of her start-up, which she founded in 2015. Qunomedical is a digital platform that enables patients worldwide to receive affordable treatment from top doctors.

Kathrin Werner
Sir Tim Clark
Sir Tim Clark

Sir Tim Clark


He was part of the founding team of Emirates and helped shape its expansion to become the largest international airline. Clark has been President of Emirates Airline since 2003. Clark's word carries great weight with airlines and manufacturers alike. Competitors such as Lufthansa accompany the rise of Emirates with suspicion, they demand that free market access for the airline from Dubai be restricted.

Jens Flottau
Friedrich Curtius
Friedrich Curtius

Friedrich Curtius


Born in 1976, studied law in Heidelberg and received his doctorate in 2004. In 2006 he joined the German Football Association (DFB), in 2008 he became office manager of the later president Wolfgang Niersbach, and since 2016 he has been Secretary General of the DFB. His motto: "You have to protect football as a cultural asset".

Caspar Busse
Rudolf Delius
Rudolf Delius

Rudolf Delius


Together with his cousin, Rudolf Delius, born in 1953, leads the textile group in the ninth generation and proves ...that those who change survive. "The trick is to find the customer who doesn't even know he needs textiles," says Delius. He has prepared well for his successor. After graduating from high school in Bielefeld, Delius studied economics in Cambridge, worked for the investment bank J.P. Morgan and the oil company BP before joining the family business in 1982.

Elisabeth Dostert
Volkmar Denner
Volkmar Denner

Volkmar Denner


Volkmar Denner, born in 1956, studied physics in Stuttgart and then joined the Robert Bosch Group, the world's largest automotive supplier, in 1986. He has been Chairman of the Board of Management since 2012. The enthusiastic motorcyclist is currently struggling hard: profits are falling, sales are stagnating, jobs are at risk, and the switch to electric mobility is giving the Swabian a hard time. "The tailwind is gone," Denner recently noted resignedly.

Caspar Busse
Philipp Depiereux
Philipp Depiereux

Philipp Depiereux


born in 1977, founded his own consulting company after studying business administration and successfully restructured the film manufacturer alesco as CEO. In 2010, he founded etventure, a start-up company and digital consultancy that develops digital business models for corporations and medium-sized businesses. As a ChangeRider (not for profit format), he conducts discussions with successful companies in an e-car. etventure has been part of the auditing and consulting firm EY since 2017, where he is also a partner.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Holger Engelmann
Holger Engelmann

Webasto

Holger Engelmann


Webasto

Holger Engelmann, who studied business administration and was head of Webasto, suddenly became a well-known crisis manager overnight at the beginning of the year. That was in January, when a Chinese employee came to the headquarters of the automotive supplier in Stockdorf near Munich for a few days. That the colleague had brought the corona virus with her was only clear a few days later when the woman - back in China - tested positive. During her visit to Bavaria, colleagues were infected, and Webasto suddenly became a company known throughout Germany. And Engelmann reacted. He set up a crisis management team, organized coronavirus tests and ordered the 1000 employees at the headquarters to have a home office for a limited time.

Thomas Fromm
Michael Forsting
Michael Forsting

Michael Forsting


Michael Forsting, born in 1960, is head of the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology at the University Hospital Essen, where he is also the medical director of the central IT department. From 2011 to 2013 he was President of the German Radiological Society. Forsting is working on using artificial intelligence in medicine as well.

Kristiana Ludwig
Marco Fuchs
Marco Fuchs

OHB

Marco Fuchs


OHB

He would love to fly into space, but so far it has not turned out: "When commercial projects such as Virgin Galactic are mature," said Marco Fuchs, born in 1962, once the SZ, "then I would consider such a flight. So far, the head of the Bremen-based space company has come to an end at the launch pad. At best, he can only observe the rockets during launch when one of his satellites is launched into space. The listed family company has been building space components and satellites since 1985, initially for the German space laboratory Spacelab, later weather, spy and Galileo navigation satellites. Now Fuchs also has lunar ambitions, with OHB involved in studies for the Lunar Gateway and life-support systems on the moon.

Dieter Sürig
Markus Haas
Markus Haas

Markus Haas


born in 1972, began his career after his law studies in 1998 as a consultant for law and regulation at Telefónica in Germany - then Viag Interkom. Since 2017 Haas has been Chairman of the Board of Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG in his home city of Munich. For internal digitalisation, the hobby chef relies on ideas from the team.

Katharina Kutsche
Ralph Hamers
Ralph Hamers

Ralph Hamers


Born in 1966, the Dutch financial group ING is radically trimming to make it digital. When he became CEO of the major bank in 2013 at the age of 46, this caused quite a stir in the Netherlands. In this country, Hamers is involved through its subsidiary ING Deutschland, the third largest German private bank.

Meike Schreiber
Beate Heraeus
Beate Heraeus

Beate Heraeus


Born in 1951, she has been working for more than 30 years to improve teacher training. The economist began her career at Roland Berger & Partner, worked in the family-owned company "Teutonia AG Zementwerk Hannover", is, among other things, President of the Senckenberg Society for Natural Research and has been Chairman of the Heraeus Education Foundation since 2011.

Lea Hampel
Sabine Herold
Sabine Herold

Sabine Herold


Sabine Herold, 56, knows all about connections that last - in more ways than one. Delo, the company owned by her and her husband, produces industrial adhesives such as those used to bond sensors in cell phones or cars. She not only looks after her own interests, but as a member of the BDI executive committee, she also looks after those of small and medium-sized companies.

Elisabeth Dostert
Thomas Hitzlsperger
Thomas Hitzlsperger

Thomas Hitzlsperger


Thomas Hitzlsperger (born 1982) had just turned 18 when he moved from Bavaria to Birmingham. There he signed his first professional contract - the beginning of a great football career. As a national player he became European vice-champion, with VfB Stuttgart the midfielder won the German championship. Later he shone internationally as a TV expert, for German television as well as for American television. Today he is working for VfB again and was promoted to chairman of the board in October 2019.

Jan Schmidbauer
Daniela Jacob
Daniela Jacob

Daniela Jacob


What are the consequences of global warming? Daniela Jacob, born in 1961, deals with this question every day. She is one of the leading climate researchers in Germany. Jacob has been head of the Climate Service Center in Hamburg, which is part of the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht, for several years. In addition, the meteorologist, who holds a doctorate, teaches as a visiting professor at Leuphana University in Lüneburg.

Julian Erbersdobler
Michael Jost
Michael Jost

Michael Jost


In every major corporation, there's one important boss. The CEO, who is the face of the company. And there are the important, formative strategists in the background. One such is VW chief strategist Michael Jost, born in 1961, who has been in charge of the strategy of the group's main brand VW since the end of 2015. When it comes to common platforms in the factory or electric cars - the engineer, who used to work for BMW and joined Volkswagen in 2010, is thinking about the future.

Thomas Fromm
Philipp Justus
Philipp Justus

Philipp Justus


born in 1970, has been managing the business of the Google internet group in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since May 2013. Prior to that, the business economist worked for ten years in various functions at the auction platform Ebay. Among other things, he helped to establish the company in Europe in the 2000s. Justus began his career as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Ola Källenius
Ola Källenius

Ola Källenius


born in 1969, stands for a cultural change as Chairman of the Board of Management of the Daimler Group. Up to now, the management of the company has been known for its relaxed show and strong slogans to create a good mood. The newcomer runs the automotive company differently. He is a sober business economist with a great understanding of technology and great restraint.

Max Hägler
Paul Kaffsack
Paul Kaffsack

Myra Security

Paul Kaffsack


Myra Security

born 1981, is co-founder of the German technology manufacturer Myra Security. Since 2013, the company has been using its services to protect websites from attacks from the Internet. Among its customers are the car rental company Sixt and the mail order company Baur. Politicians also rely on Kaffsack's services: He protects the websites of the German government and took care of the security of the online presence at the G7 summit in Elmau. In his job, Kaffsack is on the move globally, from Silicon Valley to London.

Victor Gojdka
Laura Karasek
Laura Karasek

Laura Karasek


Her father was the well-known critic Hellmuth Karasek, and she makes no secret of it. Why should she - her own career is impressive enough. Born in Hamburg in 1982, she is an author, columnist, presenter and a rather colourful bird. She says about herself: "I love adrenalin, poems, men with chest hair, prosecco and abysses. And I love winning at the casino as much as I love winning in court." The latter is quite serious, because besides everything else she is also a lawyer in a big commercial law firm in Frankfurt.

Marc Beise
Dieter Kempf
Dieter Kempf

Dieter Kempf


Born in 1953, President of the BDI industrial association since 2017, brings burgers and IT together: He worked for McDonald's at a young age and was promoted to branch manager during his business studies. After graduating, he was an auditor before joining the software company Datev in 1991. Five years later he was chairman of the board - and stayed that way for 20 years. Even today, digitization is still his heart's desire.

Henrike Roßbach
Claudia Kessler
Claudia Kessler

Claudia Kessler


For years, as head of the Bremen recruiting company HE Space, she placed top engineers with space travel companies, then Claudia Kessler turned her attention to a new mission: After Germany had already sent eleven male astronauts into space, she thought it was time for a German female astronaut to finally go into space, and founded the "Astronaut" initiative in 2016. In 2017, together with the German Aerospace Center and the Airbus Group, she selected two female candidates. However, there is not yet a launch date.

Dieter Sürig
Albrecht Kiel
Albrecht Kiel

Albrecht Kiel


As the Central European head of payment technology provider Visa, the former manager has a difficult task: among other things, he is supposed to teach cash-loving Germans how to pay electronically. The rising sales in online commerce and the ever-increasing acceptance of payment cards in Germany are helping him to do this. Kiel was once head of the insurance company Direct Line, headed Allianz's European direct insurance business and joined the world's largest payment provider in 2015.

Jan Willmroth
Anne Kjær Riechert
Anne Kjær Riechert

Anne Kjær Riechert


born in 1983, runs the ReDI School in Berlin, where refugees and migrants can acquire or improve their IT skills. The Dane has already founded several social start-ups and speaks five languages. Prior to her career as an entrepreneur, she worked as a consultant for corporate social responsibility, among others for Samsung.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Robert Mayr
Robert Mayr

DATEV

Robert Mayr


DATEV

He counters the dusty image of a tax consultant and auditor with an electric guitar of the Squier brand. Robert Mayr, born in Munich in 1966, has a degree in business administration, received his doctorate, worked at the Berlin Treuhandanstalt and later at the auditing firm Deloitte.. In the meantime, however, the hobby musician, who also jams with his employees from time to time, lives in Nuremberg: Since 2016 he has been CEO of the software house and IT service provider DATEV.

Katharina Kutsche
Hermann J. Merkens
Hermann J. Merkens

Aareal Bank

Hermann J. Merkens


Aareal Bank

Hermann J. Merkens, born in 1966, is probably what you would call an old hand. The current Chairman of the Management Board of Aareal Bank has been in business since 1985, when he was still with Deutsche Bank. After a short stopover at Deutsche Interhotel Holding, he found his way to Aareal Bank as early as 1999 and joined the Management Board there in 2003. He has also been Chairman of the Management Board there for around four years.

Nils Wischmeyer
Daniel Nathrath
Daniel Nathrath

Daniel Nathrath


Daniel Nathrath, 47, is a trained lawyer and the son of an eye doctor. He worked in various internet start-ups until he founded a digital health guide together with a human biologist in 2011, and a little later a doctor joined the team. Three years ago, they then launched Ada Health as an app on the market: it is designed to help users diagnose diseases using artificial intelligence.

Kristiana Ludwig
Bastian Nominacher
Bastian Nominacher

Bastian Nominacher


born in 1984, together with his founding partners Martin Klenk and Alexander Rinke has achieved something that not many people in Germany have managed to do so far: His company Celonis is a unicorn - a start-up with a market value of more than one billion dollars. Celonis uses artificial intelligence to illuminate the digital processes in companies and to find weak points and bottlenecks.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Verena Pausder
Verena Pausder

Digitale Bildung für Alle e.V.

Verena Pausder


Digitale Bildung für Alle e.V.

Verena Pausder, born in 1979, is very much in the news. She has just published a new book in which she makes a strong commitment to education and equal opportunities in Germany and calls for better digital equipment in schools. Pausder, who lives with her family in Berlin, has founded several companies, including Fox & Sheep, a provider of apps and online games for children, the majority of which she has sold to the toy manufacturer Haba. Most recently, she was elected to the supervisory board of Comdirect.

Caspar Busse
Vinzenz Pflanz
Vinzenz Pflanz

Vinzenz Pflanz


born in 1972, was able to gain comprehensive experience along the entire value chain in operational responsibility during his more than 23 years of activity in the automotive industry. From purchasing, loyalty programs, quality management, office work and sales to the recycling of large vehicle fleets, he was able to continuously expand his knowledge. Since December 2017 he has been President Corporate Sales at the Sixt Group, and since this year he has also been Managing Director of Sixt GmbH & Co. Autovermietung KG since this year. In times in which it is less and less about the product vehicle per se, but more and more about services around mobility, this is one of the most exciting tasks in the entire industry.

Thomas Fromm
Uwe Peter
Uwe Peter

Uwe Peter


Born in 1966, is a bridge builder: He wants to build a bridge between the engineering nation Germany and the digital future. Peter has known Cisco's customers for years. He joined the IT company in 1999 - and in the course of his career has dealt with public-sector clients as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. "There can't just be 'Smart Cities', we also need 'Smart Regions'," says Uwe Peter. Before joining Cisco, Peter worked for industry giant Siemens.

Victor Gojdka
Ramona Pop
Ramona Pop

Ramona Pop


Born in 1977 in Timisoara, Romania, the Green Party was at the forefront of Berlin's regional politics from an early age. Pop came to Germany with her parents in 1988. She studied political science in Münster and Berlin. From 2009 onwards, she was head of the Green parliamentary group in the Chamber of Deputies for seven years. In December 2016 she became mayor and senator for economics and energy in the red-red-green senate of the capital.

Jens Schneider
Angelique Renkhoff-Mücke
Angelique Renkhoff-Mücke

Angelique Renkhoff-Mücke


Angelique Renkhoff-Mücke, 56, knows all about light and shadow. She is the CEO of Warema Renkhoff SE, a company specialising in sun protection. As a family entrepreneur, she shows what she often misses in politics: a clear edge. Since the beginning of April, she has been a member of the new Digital Council of the German Employers' Association (BDA) and is one of its chairmen.

Elisabeth Dostert
Florian Resatsch
Florian Resatsch

Florian Resatsch


The Berlin-based company VC/O is part of the Viessmann Group and focuses on the topics of digitalisation, new business and smart living. Florian Resatsch has been managing director since the beginning of 2018. He was co-founder of the mobile advertising network radcarpet, which was acquired by Ströer Media AG in 2013. He also founded other companies.

Julian Erbersdobler
Frank Rieger
Frank Rieger

Frank Rieger


Born 1971, is the managing director of a company for secure communication. However, he became best known as spokesman for the Chaos Computer Club. He lectures at the annual meetings of computer experts. Rieger has also testified as an expert for technical connections in the committee of inquiry into the NSA affair.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Dirk Roßmann
Dirk Roßmann

Dirk Roßmann


At the beginning of the 70s he opened his first drugstore in Hannover. After Schlecker went bankrupt, Rossmann is now the number two in Germany with more than 2000 stores behind competitor dm. The socially committed entrepreneur, born in 1946, published his autobiography last year with the title "... dann bin ich auf den Baum geklettert!". In it, he illuminates his career, in part remarkably self-critically.

Michael Kläsgen
Manuela Rousseau
Manuela Rousseau

Manuela Rousseau


Born in Neumünster in 1955, she is one of the most experienced women on the supervisory board of a globally active DAX corporation. She has been on the Supervisory Board of the Beiersdorf cosmetics group on behalf of the employees since 1999 and has recently been appointed Deputy Chairwoman. Although she, the daughter of a seamstress and an engine driver, had to leave school at the age of 14, she made it to the top without studying, and is now a professor and one of the "100 top business women" in Germany.

Ann-Kathrin Eckardt
Stefan Schaible
Stefan Schaible

Stefan Schaible


Stefan Schaible is the new face of Roland Berger, the only German consulting firm of international weight. Since the founder retired, several bosses have been in charge. Schaible, who was born in 1968 and who will head the German core business in the new five-member management team, is committed to transparency. This is how he disclosed the figures of the past years. They were not always good, but now Berger is growing strongly.

Marc Beise
Stephan Schambach
Stephan Schambach

Stephan Schambach


Raised in the GDR, he is one of the most successful German series founders. The man from Jena has built up three well-known companies, all in the field of e-commerce. In the late 1990s, he was one of the stars of the Neuer Markt with Intershop, then moved to the U.S., founded Demandware there and sold the company to Salesforce in 2016 for almost three billion dollars. For the past three years, he has been building up Newstores in Boston and Berlin, focusing entirely on shopping via mobile devices.

Ulrich Schäfer
Rolf Martin Schmitz
Rolf Martin Schmitz

Rolf Martin Schmitz


Rolf Martin Schmitz, born in 1957, wants to transform the coal company RWE into a green electricity giant. But because the doctor of engineering did not want to close down all the piles and save the Hambach forest immediately, RWE is meeting with a lot of protest from environmentalists. The passionate carnivalist and trumpeter Schmitz has worked in the energy industry for three decades.

Benedikt Müller
Arne Schönbohm
Arne Schönbohm

Arne Schönbohm


born 1969, has been President of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) since 2016. He studied international management and was co-founder and until 2016 chairman of the Cyber Security Council Association. Schönbohm is the first business economist to head the BSI, and since the beginning of his term of office the office has been greatly expanded in terms of personnel.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Joachim Schreiner
Joachim Schreiner

salesforce.com Germany

Joachim Schreiner


salesforce.com Germany

Born in 1962, joined the cloud market leader Salesforce in 2007 after working for Boole and Babbage, Veritas Software and Symantec. He is now Executive Vice President Sales and Country Leader Germany and Austria. Schreiner also supports various projects in the fields of education and integration and is specifically committed to improving education in MINT subjects.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Rolf Schrömgens
Rolf Schrömgens

Rolf Schrömgens


Rolf Schrömgens, born in 1976, is the founder and head of the hotel search engine Trivago. The company from Düsseldorf, with which one can compare the prices of hotels and other accommodation and which has 1200 employees, is one of the large German Internet companies. Schrömgens parents once ran a well-known restaurant in Mönchengladbach, the son preferred to start up a start-up.

Caspar Busse
Günther Schuh
Günther Schuh

Günther Schuh


The company founder received his doctorate at the RWTH Aachen and habilitated at the University of St. Gallen. There he was Professor of Production Management until 2002. Finally, he took over the chair for Production Systematics at the RWTH Aachen University. He sold his electric transporter company Streetscooter to the German Postal Service, and with e.GO Mobile he is building small electric cars.

Valentin Dornis
Michael Sen
Michael Sen

Michael Sen


Born in 1968, the manager is one of those Siemens managers who, at the beginning of their career, were still doing an apprenticeship at the company's headquarters. This not only provides the necessary stable smell and good knowledge of the Group - it also guarantees important networks. Sen is currently a member of the Siemens Managing Board, where his responsibilities include medical technology. But next year, Sen is to head a new company: Siemens Energy. Siemens is spinning off its entire energy business and plans to float it on the stock market in the fall - it's a multi-millairden project.

Caspar Busse
Jean-Dominique Senard
Jean-Dominique Senard

Jean-Dominique Senard


Jean-Dominique Senard, born in 1953, could have retired to his vineyard when he retired in 2019 as head of the tyre manufacturer Michelin. Instead, he took on a tough job: as successor to the scandal-ridden Carlos Ghosn at the top of Renault, he had to bring calm to the company, calm partner Nissan - and open up new business.

Leo Klimm
Carsten Spohr
Carsten Spohr

Carsten Spohr


Born in 1966, he has been at the helm of the Lufthansa Group since 1 May 2014. An industrial engineer and Airbus A320 captain, he began his management career in 1994 and headed the airline business under the Lufthansa brand for three years before becoming CEO. Among other things, Spohr is responsible for the development of the low-cost division Eurowings. After a long conflict with the pilots, he concluded a long-term collective agreement with the Vereinigung Cockpit union.

Jens Flottau
Gillian Tans
Gillian Tans

Gillian Tans


Gillian Tans has been with Booking.com since 2002, when she was one of the first permanent employees of the start-up company in Amsterdam. The Dutch woman made a career and was CEO from 2016 to summer 2019, now she is acting as chairwoman. The hotel booking portal Booking.com is one of the most successful online companies ever and has up to one million customers a day.

Caspar Busse
Julian Teicke
Julian Teicke

Julian Teicke


Julian Teicke, 32, from Berlin, attended the German-American John F. Kennedy School and then completed a year of social work in Peru. He studied in St. Gallen and went to London to the Groupon voucher service. Shortly afterwards he founded "Dein Deal" in Switzerland. The Ringier Group bought the company in 2015. Teicke founded the insurance broker Wefox. In 2017 he married Elisabeth von Stackelberg, the couple has been together for 15 years.

Herbert Fromme
Frank Thelen
Frank Thelen

Frank Thelen


He is one of the lions that has been luring founders into the cave for five years in the VOX programme of the same name. Frank Thelen, born in 1975, was named a Hidden Champion in 2011 with his investment company Freigeist Capital and has since then been acting in a less covert manner as one of the most well-known German capital providers. His most successful investments include MyTaxi, Wunderlist and Lilium. Since 2018, he has been leading the Innovation Council of the German government as a representative of the entrepreneurs together with Minister of State Dorothee Bär.

Katharina Kutsche
Karsten Traum
Karsten Traum

Karsten Traum


He heads the Corporate Development department at Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB), Germany's second largest direct bank with 4.2 million private customers. The trained banker and graduate in business administration is also responsible for technological innovations. Very early on, he entered into partnerships with Fintech start-ups in order to make it easier for customers to pay on the Internet or manage their securities accounts. DKB is known for its innovative approach. In 2017, it was awarded the "Digital Transformer of the Year" prize.

Harald Freiberger
Stefan Vilsmeier
Stefan Vilsmeier

Stefan Vilsmeier


Stefan Vilsmeier, born in 1967, has revolutionized medical technology with Brainlab. He taught himself programming on a C64 and published a successful book on digital 3D design at the age of 19. The profit became seed capital for Brainlab, one of the leading providers of software-supported medical technology worldwide.

Christoph Gurk
Katharina Wagner
Katharina Wagner

Katharina Wagner


Katharina Wagner, born in 1983, only owned her own car once, when she was 19, for one year. As a big-city person, she uses public transport, the bicycle and sharing services, which she herself is constantly optimizing: The business economist worked at Daimler's Car2go and now as the head of Germany at the very young sharing start-up Oply. The idea: to make the private car really dispensable.

Max Hägler
Kira Walkenhorst
Kira Walkenhorst

Kira Walkenhorst


The beach volleyball player has achieved everything that athletes can dream of. Olympic champion in 2016, world champion in 2017, European champion in 2015 and 2016, she has often had a hard time, serious injuries and illnesses throwing her back again and again. But she fought back. With her appearance in the final of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro she and her partner Laura Ludwig thrilled the people. She then ended her career at the age of 28, "my body no longer allows me to do competitive sport" she announced at the beginning of the year.

Hannah Wilhelm
David Wang
David Wang

David Wang


David Wang, born in 1972, is deputy head of Germany at the Chinese telecommunications provider Huawei. Wang studied at Xi'an Jiaotong University and has worked for Huawei since 1997. He is also Chairman of the Investment Review Board of the company. Prior to that, Wang held a number of management positions at Huawei.

Helmut Martin-Jung
Franziska Wessel
Franziska Wessel

Franziska Wessel


Franziska Wessel, born in 2004, finds twelve tons of CO2 per German citizen per year far too much - only two tons are allowed. On Fridays, the schoolgirl is seldom in the classroom, but then she demonstrates on the streets of Berlin with the school movement "Fridays For Future" for the climate. She herself tried to live climate neutrally for a year.

Tobias Bug
Katja Windt
Katja Windt

Katja Windt


Born in 1969, she has been a member of the management board of the plant engineering company SMS Group since 2018. With a doctorate in mechanical engineering, she is responsible for software and digital products that the family business sells, for example to steel mills. Windt previously headed a private university in Bremen. The mother of three children sits on the supervisory boards of Fraport and Deutsche Post.

Benedikt Müller
Miriam Wohlfarth
Miriam Wohlfarth

Miriam Wohlfarth


Miriam Wohlfarth is one of the most famous women in the German Fintech scene. In 2010 she founded Ratepay, a provider for installment payments in internet trade. In May 2018 she was able to show a profit in the millions for the first time. With her foundation, Wohlfahrt has shown how a successful financial technology company can be built up despite resistance.

Meike Schreiber
Christiane Woopen
Christiane Woopen

Christiane Woopen


Born in 1962, she first studied medicine, then philosophy. Today, as professor of ethics and theory of medicine at the University of Cologne, she can combine both. There she is the managing director of the Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health (Ceres). She also advises politicians on ethics issues: at the international level as chairperson of the European Ethics Council and at the national level as co-spokesperson of the Data Ethics Commission of the German Federal Government.

Veronika Wulf

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Highlights from the past year

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Peak climbers


The SZ-Wirtschaftsgipfel 2019 awarded the most innovative founders - with a special jury

The competition: A country without founders is a country without future. That’s why the Wirtschaftsgipfel of the Süddeutsche Zeitung honours the best of them for the fifth time this year. The call for entries for the “Gipfelstürmer” start-up competition ran in the summer of 2019. Companies that are older than six months and younger than four years and have their headquarters in Germany were eligible to apply.

The preliminary round: In October, a jury consisting of members of the SZ-Wirtschaftsredaktion selected the six finalists from all applicants. These “summit stormers” are expected to take part in the SZ-Wirtschaftsgipfel at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin from 16 to 18 November.

The Start-up-Pitch: On November 15th the six finalists presented their business idea and their company at the Start-up-Night in the Kalkscheune. Each start-up was given three minutes. Afterwards, a very special jury chose the winner: All participants of the SZ-Wirtschafts voted per app. Many of them are experienced entrepreneurs and managers who know what is important. They are curious about founders and their ideas. The motto for the competition is therefore also: “Start-ups meet Grown-ups”.

The series: The Süddeutsche Zeitung accompanies the “Gipfelstürmer” competition with portraits of founders and stories from the start-up scene – on all channels: print, digital and social media. Here on the website of the SZ-Wirtschaftsgipfel the six finalists and other interesting applicants are presented. The Twitter hashtag for the start-up competition is #Gipfelstürmer.

Ava Information Systems - The Winner of the 2019 Summit Contest

The story of Ava Information Systems begins in Austin. In 2014, Aleksandar Stojanovic attended a digital event there, and one evening he witnessed a wild chase that left many people dead. Only back in Germany did Stojanovic and his co-founder Sascha Knopp realize that in what seemed to be the most networked place in the world there was no real-time information about the dangers about which people could have been warned. They spent three years working on a solution. Ava is something like a weather forecast, but not for sun and rain, but for personal and public safety. An artificial intelligence system brings together data from many different sources and uses it to determine the risk of crime, terrorism, natural forces, health and much more. Based on the risk profile of a location, for example, autonomous vehicles can then warn their owners when they are parked in a dangerous area, or smart home systems can close the shutters if there is a threat in the neighborhood.