Otto Group Reveals Leadership Succession Plan

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The “next generation” of leaders for the massive German conglomerate Otto Group, which operates a wide variety of e-commerce platforms and delivery services, has been unveiled. Benjamin Otto will take over as group head from his father, Prof. Dr. Michael Otto, in 2026, according to the succession plan; other significant changes will begin next year.



Among the many brands owned by the conglomerate are Crate & Barrel, Bonprix (in the United Kingdom), About You, Freemans, and delivery specialists Evri/Hermes.

In addition to his role as CEO, Benjamin Otto will also serve as Chair of the Shareholders’ Council and the Foundation, the latter of which owns the majority of the company. With Alexander Birken “at his side,” the present CEO, he will take charge of the worldwide retail and services division. In 2025, he will become leadership of the Supervisory Board.

Petra Scharner-Wolff will take over as CEO and “thus the driving force at the wheel of the Otto Group” in the spring of 2019, while Katy Roewer will join the executive board as a member responsible for human resources and finance.

It was noted that Michael Otto “turned the former Otto Versand into an internationally successful digital retail and services enterprise” after running the family business since 1971.

“Devote more time to his many foundation [and other entrepreneurial] activities” beginning in 2026, he announced after turning 80 last year.

At the young age of 48, Benjamin Otto will be at the helm of the group’s strategic future objectives, so he has plenty of time to implement his vision for the company.

He is not the exclusive focus, though, as the alterations mentioned above demonstrate. “To guide the fortunes of the group and be a central sparring partner for the Otto Group’s executive board,” the company said of Birken’s role beside him. Alexander Birken’s wealth of business knowledge and experience are assets to the Otto family.

Rumor has it that Birken, who is 59 years old, “knows the Otto Group like no other“. The digital and cultural development of the firm has been led by his clear vision and strategic acumen.

“The driving force of the group” is how 52-year-old Scharner-Wolff will be described in her new position. Since 1999, she has held a variety of senior management roles at Otto. Since 2015, she has been on the executive board as responsible for finance, controlling, and human resources.

According to the corporation, she has been instrumental in guiding the group through challenging times by demonstrating exceptional business acumen coupled with a compassionate grasp of human nature and cultural norms. By March of next year, she will have assumed the role of chief executive officer.

“One of the biggest challenges facing family businesses is the successful handover from one generation to the next,” Michael Otto noted in reference to all of this. It will be passed on to my son, making him the third generation to take charge. Benjamin will steer the organization toward a prosperous future while honoring the unique principles of our family business, and I couldn’t be more confident in his abilities.

The group will maintain its strong entrepreneurial spirit and value-oriented leadership under the guidance of Alexander Birken, who is both experienced and socially dedicated. Petra Scharner-Wolff, who has left her imprint on the organization, will shortly be guiding the executive board.

Ethan Sullivan

Ethan's penchant for the pulse of the fashion world extends to covering lifestyle topics, offering readers a seamless blend of the latest style updates and lifestyle trends.

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