By establishing his mail order company, Werner Otto (1909-2011) wrote an important chapter in German post-war history.
Dr. Michael Otto, born 1943, is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Hamburg-based retail and services group, Otto (GmbH & Co KG).
Between 1981 and 2007, he served as Chairman & CEO of the Otto Group. Under his leadership, the company developed into the largest mail order group in the world and the only global player in this market. Today the Otto Group consists of 123 major companies in 20 countries in Europe, America and Asia. In e-commerce the Otto Group is the world's No. 1 fashion and lifestyle company in B2C.
After finishing school and earning his university entrance certificate (A-level equivalent), Michael Otto trained at a bank and then studied economics, taking a doctorate in the subject. While still at university, he independently set up on his own real estate and financial brokerage business.
In 1971, Dr. Michael Otto joined the Otto Group and became Member of the Executive Board Merchandise (Textile) and restructured the division.
His desire to give back to society is reflected in the variety of honorary posts he holds. Among other positions, Dr. Otto is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Politics and Industry (“Haus Rissen”), Hamburg; Vice Chairman of the Board of the Cultural Group of German Business in Berlin; Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection, Hamburg; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Werner Otto Foundation for Medical Research, Hamburg; honorary member of the World Future Council. Dr. Otto also sits on the supervisory board of Axel Springer Verlag AG, Berlin and is a partner in Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, Stuttgart.
Awards and honours:
German Marketing Prize (1982); Manager of the Year (1986 and 2001); Environment Manager of the Year (1991); International Retailer of the Year 1995 of the National Retail Federation, New York (1995); International Corporate Conscience Award for Environmental Initiatives 1996 of the Council on Economic Priorities, New York (1996); Binding-Prize for Nature and Environmental Protection of the Binding Foundation Schaan/Liechtenstein (1996); "Alfred Töpfer Medal" of the Hamburg Senate (1996); Deutscher Umweltpreis der Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt (German Environment Award 1997 of the German Federal Environmental Foundation) (1997); Honorary Senator of the Universities of Hamburg and Greifswald (2000); Business Ethics Award presented by the German Business Ethics Network (2000); Induction into the DMA Hall of Fame, New York (2001); Sustainability Leadership Award (2002); Jewish Museum Berlin Prize for Understanding and Tolerance (2004); B.A.U.M. Sustainability Special Award (2005); Vernon A. Walters Award 2005 of the Atlantik-Brücke (2005); German Incorporators’ Prize, category ‘life’s work’ (2006); International Lifetime Award (2006); Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Stern (Great Cross of Merit with star of the Federal Republic of Germany) (2006); Deutscher Handelspreis in the segment Lifetime Award (German Retail Prize) (2007); Medal for Merits in the German Philanthropic Sector (2008); Theodor Heuss Prize (2010); UNESCO Children in Need Support Award (2010); Walter-Scheel-Prize (2011); Heinz Sielmann Prize (2011); International TÜV Rhineland Global Compact Award (2011); Honorary Doctorate HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management (2012), Business Hall of Fame of the Manager Magazin (2012.