Our events

Birthplace of ideas

There is nothing more valuable than the exchange of ideas. Particularly with people facing the same challenges as you. And with stakeholders from all walks of social and economic life. All bringing a diversity of mindset and the most important thing of all: new perspectives. The BBUG provides just the right place.

Knowledge, perspectives and exchange

The BBUG take place twice a year, in spring and autumn. At their core is a direct, personal exchange between professionals, experts and figures from business, science, politics and culture. For decades, this simple yet ambitious format has proven its worth in communicating knowledge, broadening perspectives and enhancing leadership skills.

Over three weeks of lively discussion, participants develop together a long-term view of their responsibility as industry leaders. Talks from inspiring speakers provide stimulus for debate and contemplation.
Each event is individually curated, while still following the same seven-pronged approach:

Strategic Corporate Development
Strategic Corporate Development

Strategic Corporate Development

Corporate Leadership
Corporate Leadership

Corporate Leadership

Talent, Knowledge and Change Management
Talent, Knowledge and Change Management

Talent, Knowledge and Change Management

Innovation and Product
Innovation and Product

Innovation and Product

Corporate Culture, Communication and Brand
Corporate Culture, Communication and Brand

Corporate Culture, Communication and Brand

Corporate Responsibility
Corporate Responsibility

Corporate Responsibility

Economics, Politics and Society
Economics, Politics and Society

Economics, Politics and Society

The BBUG is a unique network dedicated to value-based and success-oriented entrepreneurship. It personally enriches me as a participant, and it has been an important opportunity for many of our company's managers over the years. As a result, managers have the opportunity define their position and broaden their horizons.
Dr. Stefan Hartung,
Member of the Board, 130th BBUG

Our speakers

Directness and personal openness are the pillars of our culture of discussion. This is embodied in our choice of speakers. They are decision-makers and leaders, experts in their fields and professionals with long-term leadership experience at the highest level who are selected from the worlds of business, politics and state institutions, as well as science, culture and society. From across this broad field, they represent the organisations and stakeholders that bear particular responsibility for the spectrum of demands and opinions that business leaders are faced with today.

Below is a selection of contributors from recent years.

Show more


  • Frank Appel, CEO, Deutsche Post AG
  • Oliver Bäte, CEO, Allianz SE
  • Simone Bagel-Trah, Chair of the Supervisory Board, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
  • Sabine Bendiek, CEO, Microsoft Deutschland GmbH
  • Alexander Birken, CEO, Otto Group
  • Sophie Boissard, CEO, Korian Group
  • Frank Briegmann, President and CEO, Universal Music Entertainment GmbH
  • Thomas Buberl, CEO, AXA Group
  • Saori Dubourg, Member of the Board, BASF SE
  • Christina Foerster, Member of the Board, Chief Customer Officer, Deutsche Lufthansa AG
  • Stefan Hartung, Chair of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH
  • Markus Krebber, CEO, RWE AG
  • Stefan Bernhard Wintels, CEO, KfW Bankengruppe
  • Markus Witte, Founder, Partner, Executive Chairman, Babbel GmbH
  • Christian Sewing, CEO, Deutsche Bank AG
  • Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg, CEO, Sartorius AG
  • Béatrice Guillaume-Grabisch, CEO, Nestlé Deutschland AG
  • Oliver Heckmann, Vice President, Google Inc.
  • Timotheus Höttges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom AG
  • Dirk Hoke, CEO, Airbus Defence and Space GmbH
  • Julia Jäkel, CEO, Gruner + Jahr AG und Co. KG
  • Friedrich P. Joussen, CEO, TUI AG
  • Joe Kaeser, CEO, Siemens AG
  • Alex Karp, CEO, Palantir Technologies
  • Susanne Klatten, Managing Director, SKion GmbH
  • Christian Klein, Member of the Board, SAP SE
  • Christian Kullmann, CEO, Evonik Industries AG
  • Miriam Meckel, Founder of cross-media digital platform ‘Ala’.
  • Martina Merz, CEO, thyssenkrupp AG
  • Hildegard Müller, Member of the Board, innogy SE
  • Tina Müller, Member of the Board, Adam Opel AG
  • Stefan Oschmann, Chair of the Board of Management and CEO, Merck KGaA
  • Thomas Rabe, CEO, Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA
  • Anke Schäferkordt, Co-CEO RTL Group and CEO, RTL Deutschland Media Group
  • Mark Ulf Schneider, CEO, Fresenius SE & Co.
  • Carsten Spohr, CEO, Lufthansa AG
  • Johannes Teyssen, CEO, E.ON AG
  • Stefan Träger, CEO, Jenoptik AG
  • Theodor Weimer, CEO, Deutsche Börse AG
  • Hiltrud Werner, Member of the Board, Volkswagen AG
  • Dieter Zetsche, CEO, Daimler AG

Politics and public life

  • Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive Officer Financial Conduct Authority, Bank of England
  • Thomas de Maizière, Federal Minister of the Interior
  • John B. Emerson, Ambassador of the United States in Germany
  • Jeremy Issacharoff, Ambassador of the State of Israel in Germany
  • Lars Klingbeil, General Secretary of the SPD
  • Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister-President of Saarland
  • Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg
  • Johannes Laitenberger, Director General, Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission
  • Armin Laschet, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Ludwig Leinhos, Inspector of the Cyber and Information Space of the German Bundeswehr
  • Christian Lindner, Leader of the FDP political party
  • Lord Peter Mandelson, First Secretary of State, Lord President of the Council, United Kingdom
  • Katja Mast, Deputy Party Leader, SPD Parliamentary Group, Berlin
  • Mario Monti, former Prime Minister of Italy
  • Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Poland
  • Steffen Harbarth, President of the Federal Constitutional Court
  • Amadou Hott, former Minister of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation, Senegal; former Vice President of the African Development Bank’s Power, Energy, Green Growth and Climate Change Complex
  • Franziska Brantner, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
  • Damian Böselager, MEP
  • Christiane Hoffmann, First Deputy Spokesperson of the Federal Government
  • Susanne Baumann, State Secretary, Federal Foreign Office
  • João Galamba, Minister of Infrastructure, Portugal
  • Nadia Calviño, Vice President and Minister for Economy and Digitalization, Spain
  • Andreas Mundt, President, Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office)
  • Andrea Nahles, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
  • Danièle Nouy, Chair of the SSM Supervisory Board, European Central Bank
  • Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner, European Commission
  • Cem Özdemir, Party Leader of Alliance 90/The Greens
  • Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance
  • Detlef Scheele, Chair of the Federal Employment Agency
  • Isabel Schnabel, Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank
  • Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor
  • Jens Spahn, Member of the German Bundestag, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance
  • Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Katrin Suder, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence, Berlin
  • François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France
  • Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
  • Andreas Voßkuhle, President, Federal Constitutional Court
  • Manfred Weber, MEP, Leader of the European People’s Party parliamentary group
  • Joshua Wong, dissident, student activist and politician

Society and culture

  • Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany
  • Christiane Benner, Second Chair, IG Metall
  • Thilo Bode, Founder and Managing Director, foodwatch international
  • Dr. Cheng Li, Director and Senior Fellow, The John L. Thornton China Center, The Brookings Institution
  • Dr. Comfort Ero, President and CEO, International Crisis Group
  • Philipp Demandt, Director of the Städel Museum, Frankfurt
  • Jörg Dräger, Member of the Board, Bertelsmann Stiftung
  • Paul Drechsler, CBE, President, Chamber of British Industry and Chairman, Bibby Line Group
  • Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the Executive Board, German Aerospace Center
  • Felix Falk, Managing Director, game – The German Games Industry Association
  • Marcel Fratzscher, President, DIW Berlin
  • Clemens Fuest, President, Center for Economic Studies
  • Prof Olga Grjasnowa, author, University of Applied Arts Vienna
  • Gabriel Krauze, author
  • Rainer Hoffmann, Chair of German Trade Union Confederation
  • Burkhard Jung, Lord Mayor of the City of Leipzig and President of the Association of German Cities
  • Karl-Heinz Kamp, President of the Federal Academy for Security Policy
  • Ingo Kramer, President, Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA)
  • Ivan Krastev, Chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
  • Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, President, Goethe-Institut e.V.
  • Holger Münch, President, Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office)
  • Sir Robin Niblett, PhD, Director and Chief Executive, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House
  • Angelika Nußberger, Judge, European Court of Human Rights
  • Felix Pirson, Director, German Archaeological Institute, Istanbul
  • Hartmut Rosa, Institute of Sociology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
  • José Ángel Sánchez, CEO, Real Madrid
  • Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • Gerhard Schick, Chairman, Bürgerbewegung Finanzwende e.V. (Grassroot Movement Financial Turning Point)
  • Helmut Schönenberger, CEO, UnternehmerTUM
  • Hans Schöpflin, Chair of the Executive Board, Schöpflin Stiftung
  • Christian Seifert, Managing Director, Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH
  • Martin Stratmann, President, Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science
  • Michael Vassiliadis, Chair of IG Bergbau, Chemie, Energie
  • Katrin Vernau, Director General, rbb
  • Marion A. Weissenberger-Eibl, Director, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe
  • Michael Werz PhD, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Zifan Yang, Die Zeit
  • Ingo Zamperoni, author, journalist and presenter for Tagesthemen, NDR

Titles and positions correct at the time of the speakers’ last participation at the BBUG; some guests have participated more than once in the talks.

Our events

Participation procedure

Our participants
Our participants

The rise to top management level differs significantly from all prior career steps. It represents a shift from a departmental role to responsibility for the company as a whole. This also includes responsibility for the wider economy, the public good, and above all people. The scope of one’s actions changes fundamentally. And all within an increasingly complex world of global competition and a rapidly changing society.

Our participants
Our participants

Those taking part in the BBUG have already achieved extraordinary things in their careers and have come far. Their organizations have nominated them for the talks precisely because they are trusted to take on responsibility at the top level of management. Some have already taken this step before.

Admission procedure

As a general rule, candidates for participation in the BBUG are recommended by the board, the directors, or the supervisory board of their company. Admission is decided by a committee of the BBUG board convening twice a year, usually in May and November for the main BBUG event in spring and autumn respectively of the following year. Nominations must be submitted to The BBUG offices by 15 April/15 September respectively.

The committee’s decision takes into account not only the individual admissions criteria (Terms of Participation), but also relevance to the BBUG’s objective to guarantee the greatest possible diversity in the composition of each group and of the BBUG alumni network (in terms of sectors, responsibilities, specialist backgrounds, foreign experience, age, gender, social and political involvement, etc.).

Since the number of nominations often significantly exceeds the places available (approx. 35 per conference), the committee is obliged to reject some candidates who may have fulfilled the formal admissions criteria. A rejection therefore says nothing about the suitability of the candidate in question.

Terms of Participation

  • The BBUG is a programme for the next generation of top-level executive leaders. As such, those nominated to take part have either recently been appointed as board members or directors, or are expected to join the highest level of company management in the foreseeable future.
  • Participants are primarily employees of organisations from across all industrial sectors, the service sector (financial services, logistics, communications, etc.), as well as commerce, banking, insurance, and a few auditing and consulting companies.
  • Candidates should have at least seven years’ executive experience, of which the last two in top-level management or the level directly beneath it.
  • Furthermore, admission is only permitted on condition that the candidates are able to participate without interruption for the entire three weeks of the main talks in Baden-Baden, as well as in each of the five-day follow-up conferences held abroad over the four following years.
  • Alongside nominations coming from the 120-odd member organisations of the BBUG e. V., nominations from non-BBUG member companies and organisations are regularly considered in the interest of ensuring the greatest possible diversity within the individual groups as part of the BBUG’s overarching objective. The key criteria applied are not just personal suitability, but also the current or potential significance of the nominating company or organisation in the wider economy or at the interfaces between business, state and society.
  • BBUG conferences are held both in German and English. Participants must be proficient in both languages.
  • In keeping with the BBUG’s non-profit objectives, there is particular interest in selecting candidates who will hold positions of responsibility in business long after their participation in the conference. For this reason, when deciding on the ideal composition of participant groups, the admission committee considers a flexible age limit of 50 years.