In 2026, Benjamin Otto will be succeeding his father Prof. Dr. Michael Otto as head of the Otto Group. The constitutive shareholder will become Chair of the Foundation and Shareholders' Council and will hold control of the international retail and services group – with Alexander Birken at his side, who will be moving to the helm of the Supervisory Board in 2025. Next spring, Petra Scharner-Wolff will become the new CEO and thus the driving force at the wheel of the Otto Group, with Katy Roewer becoming the new Executive Board member for Finance and Human Resources.

An era will come to an end at the Otto Group in two years' time when entrepreneur, benefactor and honorary citizen of Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Michael Otto, hands over the helm of the foundation that is the majority stakeholder of the Otto Group. The abiding and respected CEO and current Chair of the Board of Trustees, Shareholders' Council and Supervisory Board has skippered the company since 1971 and has turned the former Otto Versand into an internationally successful digital retail and services enterprise. Having turned 80 last year, the multi-award-winning entrepreneur will hand over responsibility for the Group to the younger generation by 2026 and devote more time to his many foundation activities.

As previously announced, the passionate entrepreneur and dedicated benefactor, Benjamin Otto, will be taking control of the group of companies. The co-founder of the publicly listed Group company About You, Deputy Chair of the Foundation and Shareholders' Council and member of the Supervisory Board of the Otto Group will take control with effect from 01 March 2026. This period has been deliberately chosen to allow for a gradual and smooth transition. Until then, Benjamin Otto intends to focus more intensively on his foundation work – with the Holistic Foundation together with his wife and the HHI Holistic Health Institute – and his various other entrepreneurial activities.

Benjamin Otto will be taking over the strategic management of the Group from the supervisory bodies as a constitutive shareholder. With effect from 01 March 2026, the 48-year-old will become Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Michael Otto Foundation, which holds the majority of shares in the Otto Group. At the same time, he will take over as Chair of the Shareholders' Council, which will be responsible for formulating and monitoring the Group's strategic goals in future.

As the shareholders’ representative for the operating business, the current CEO Alexander Birken will take over from Dr. Michael Otto as Chair of the Supervisory Board with effect from 01 March 2025. Later, he will be working closely with Benjamin Otto to steer the fortunes of the Group and be a central sparring partner for the Otto Group’s Executive Board. The Otto family relies on Alexander Birken's high level of expertise and extensive entrepreneurial experience.

With over 30 years of international business background, Alexander Birken knows the Otto Group like no other and is also a member of the supervisory board of several companies. With clear vision and strategic foresight, he has driven the digital and cultural transformation of OTTO and the entire Otto Group. The 59-year-old has been Chair of the Otto Group’s Executive Board since 2017 and will take over as Chair of the Supervisory Board once he relinquishes his role on the Executive Board.

Petra Scharner-Wolff will be the new Chair of the Otto Group Executive Board and thus the driving force of the Group. The business graduate has been successfully working for the Group in various senior management positions since 1999 – among others at the Group companies Schwab and OTTO. Since 2015, Petra Scharner-Wolff, 52, has been responsible for Finance, Controlling and Human Resources on the Otto Group's Executive Board. As CFO, she has helped steer the Group through volatile and turbulent times, combining outstanding entrepreneurial skill with an empathetic understanding of people and culture. She will take over as CEO with effect from 01 March 2025.

At the same time, Katy Roewer will be joining the Otto Group Executive Board, succeeding Petra Scharner-Wolff as Executive Board member responsible for Finance, Controlling and Human Resources. The 48-year-old business graduate has also been with the Group for many years. Having come from Group Financial Controlling, she has played a key role in shaping the fortunes of OTTO for almost ten years. Today, as a mother, she works a four-day week as a Management Board member of Group’s largest company where she is responsible for Services, Human Resources and Finance. She also intends to meet the challenges of her new role on the Group’s Executive Board working four days a week. Her successor on the Management Board at OTTO will be appointed at a later date.

The changes at Supervisory Board and Executive Board level are subject to the approval of the relevant bodies.

“One of the biggest challenges facing family businesses is the successful handover from one generation to the next. My son will be the third generation to assume overall responsibility for the Otto Group. I am very confident that Benjamin will not only lead the Group into a sound economic future, but will also keep the special values of our family business alive. Together with the highly experienced and socially committed Alexander Birken at the head of the Supervisory Board, the Group will continue to exhibit strong entrepreneurial and value-oriented leadership. In Petra Scharner-Wolff, the Executive Board will soon be steered by an equally outstanding leader who has made her mark on the company in many respects over her long tenure with the Otto Group. Together with the Executive Board and the excellent Katy Roewer as CFO and HR Director, she will give the Group new impetus and provide strong leadership for the future in challenging times.”
Prof. Dr. Michael Otto

“My heart beats for business and, through my own entrepreneurial activities and as constitutive shareholder of the Otto Group, I have had many years to prepare myself for my new role at the head of supervisory bodies. Nevertheless, I have great respect for the fact that I will soon be taking on overall responsibility for the Otto Group and with it over 40,000 employees. At the same time, I am sure that we will be more than capable of leading the Otto Group into the future together with all our employees. For me, teams with strong people are crucial in rising to the challenges that lie ahead. I am therefore grateful to have an extremely experienced and value-oriented sparring partner at my side in Alexander Birken and an exceptional manager at the head of the Executive Board in Petra Scharner-Wolff. I am more than happy to take on this great task.”
Benjamin Otto

“Together with the Executive Board and the shareholders, we have successfully navigated the Otto Group through stormy times in recent years. In doing so, we have not only taken our financial responsibilities very seriously, we have also always seen ourselves as part of society, committed to people and the planet. I consider it an extraordinary privilege to represent the interests of the shareholders from next year onwards – for the benefit of the Group – and would like to thank them for their immense faith in me.”
Alexander Birken

“After so many years in the Otto Group, I am delighted to be taking over the Chair of the Executive Board. I accept this challenge with respect, but also with great confidence. Working alongside Alexander and together with the Executive Board, I have always enjoyed steering an enterprise of this size through the various phases of transformation without losing sight of our values and our people. The retail, logistics and financial services sectors – that is, all of us at the Otto Group – are facing major challenges worldwide, which we will overcome together. I'm looking forward to it."
Petra Scharner-Wolff

“I look back with great gratitude on a wonderful time at OTTO. But now I am very much looking forward to returning to the Otto Group and helping to shape the future of the Group together with such dedicated colleagues. My responsibilities are wide-ranging and extend from finance to HR. In the latter, I will particularly relish continuing to drive forward my personal passions of the future of work and diversity in the holding company and at Group companies.”
Katy Roewer

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About the Otto Group

Founded in Germany in 1949, today the Otto Group is a globally active retail and services group with around 41,000 employees in 30 major company groups primarily active in the economic regions of Germany, the rest of Europe, and the USA. Its business activities span the Platforms, Brand Concepts, Retailers, Services and Financial Services segments. In the 2022/23 financial year (to 28 February) the Otto Group generated revenues of 16.2 billion euros. With online revenues of approximately 12 billion euros (financial year 2022/23), the Otto Group is one of the world’s largest online retailers. The Group’s particular strength is the broad market presence of its differentiated product assortments and service offers to diverse customer target groups in the world’s relevant economic regions. Numerous strategic partnerships and joint ventures provide the Otto Group with excellent opportunities to transfer know-how and leverage areas of synergy potential. Group companies demonstrate a high degree of corporate responsibility and willingness to collaborate with one another; at the same time this guarantees flexibility, customer proximity and optimal target-group appeal in their respective national markets.

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