Our mission

We provide thought and debate regarding current and future challenges.

What drives us

The Baden-Badener Unternehmer Gespräche (Baden-Baden Entrepreneur Talks) forge connections between business and society, commerce and politics. We bring people together. Over three weeks of meetings, we invite our guests to reflect and to question, encouraging them towards new approaches and to search out previously unknown answers. In short: to surprise them. Using unexpected and unconventional methods to challenge so-called certainties for the common good – that is what we stand for. By doing this, the BBUG helps business leaders increase their awareness of the responsibilities they have to their companies and to society. And we’ve been at it since 1955. Consequently, we have become one of the most important, longstanding institutions involved in developing the next generation of leaders in German business and society. Since 1955, more than 150 conferences have taken place in Baden-Baden, with 300 further events happening abroad. The BBUG alumni network consists of over 3,000 top executives and today represents one of the largest cross-sector networks in Germany. The BBUG is a non-profit association supported by some 120 member organisations from across industry, commerce, transport, the digital economy, media and communication, as well as banking and insurance.

Our members

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50Hertz Transmission GmbH
Accenture GmbH
Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG
Airbus Defence and Space GmbH
Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG
Allianz SE
Aon Holding Deutschland GmbH
AXA Konzern AG
B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co. Aktiengesellschaft
Bayer AG
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA
BNP Paribas S.A.
Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH
BP Europa SE
Brenntag SE
BSW Anlagen GmbH
Carl Zeiss AG
Commerzbank AG
CompuGroup Medical SE & Co. KGaA
Continental AG
Covestro AG
Daimler Truck AG
Deloitte GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
Deutsche Bahn AG
Deutsche Bank AG
Deutsche Beteiligungs AG
Deutsche Börse AG
Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Deutsche Post DHL Group AG
Deutsche Telekom AG
DIC Asset AG
Dürr AG
dwp bank Deutsche WertpapierService Bank AG
DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank
ElringKlinger AG
Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW)
EQT Partners GmbH
Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
Evonik Industries AG
Festo AG
Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH
Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA
Freudenberg SE
Friedhelm Loh Group
goetzpartners CORPORATE FINANCE GmbH
Gothaer Finanzholding AG
Grünenthal Pharma GmbH & Co. KG
Hapag Lloyd AG
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
Hewlett Packard GmbH
HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt GmbH
Infineon Technologies AG

JPMorgan Chase N.A.
Jungheinrich AG
KfW Bankengruppe
KION Group
Knorr-Bremse AG
KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Lazard Gruppe Deutschland
Mercedes-Benz Group AG
Merck KGaA
Metro AG
Miba AG
Morgan Stanley Europe SE
MTU Aero Engines AG
MULTIVAC Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG
Osram Licht AG
P. Keppler Verlag GmbH & Co. KG
Permira Beteiligungsberatung GmbH
PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH WPG
Robert Bosch GmbH
Roche Holding
Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG
Rothschild & Co. Deutschland GmbH
SAG Salzburger Aluminium AG
Schott AG
Seidl & Partner Gesamtplanung GmbH
SGL Carbon SE
Siemens AG
Siemens Energy AG
Software AG
targens GmbH
Testo SE & Co. KGaA
thyssenkrupp AG
UBS Europe SE
UniCredit Bank AG
Uniper SE
VHV Holding AG
Vodafone GmbH
Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA
Volkswagen AG
Vonovia SE
Vorwerk & Co.
VTG Aktiengesellschaft
WAGNER International AG
Webasto SE
Wintershall Dea Deutschland AG
Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG
ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Our organisation

Our organisation
Our organisation

The Baden-Badener Unternehmer Gespräche (Baden-Baden Entrepreneur Talks) are legally and financially operated by the non-profit association of the same name.

Executive Board

  • Dr. Kurt Bock, Chair of the Advisory Board, BASF SE, Ludwigshafen (Chair)
  • Dr. Christine Bortenlänger, Executive Member of the Board, Deutsches Aktieninstitut e.V. (German Shares Institute), Frankfurt am Main (Deputy Chair)
  • Dr. Stephan Leithner, Member of the Board, Deutsche Börse AG, Eschborn (Treasurer)
  • Kerstin Andreae, Chair of the Board of Management and Member of the Executive Committee, Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft e.V. (Federal Association for Energy and Water Management) (BDEW), Berlin
  • Werner Baumann, Chair of the Board, Bayer AG, and Chair of the Board, Bayer HealthCare AG, Leverkusen
  • Hubertus von Baumbach, Chair of the Board of Managing Directors, C.H. Boehringer Sohn AG & Co. KG, Ingelheim
  • Birgit Bohle, Member of the Board for Human Resources and Legal Affairs, Labour Director, Deutsche Telekom AG, Frankfurt am Main
  • Dr. Thomas Buberl, CEO, AXA Group, Paris
  • Tanja Gönner, General Directorate, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (The Federation of German Industries)
  • Dr.-Ing. Stefan Hartung, Chair of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH, Gerlingen-Schillerhöhe
  • Ola Källenius, Chair of the Board of Management, Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Stuttgart
  • Dr.-Ing. h.c. Peter Leibinger, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Deputy Chair of the Group Board of Management, Trumpf GmbH & Co. KG, Ditzingen
  • Helene von Roeder, Chief Transformation Officer, Vonovia SE, Bochum
  • Karl von Rohr, Deputy CEO, Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt am Main

  • Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chair of the Supervisory Board, E.ON SE, Essen (Honorary Chair)

Board of Trustees

  • Peter Adrian, President, German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), Berlin
  • Dr. Frank Appel, CEO, Deutsche Post AG, Bonn
  • Oliver Bäte, CEO, Allianz SE, Munich
  • Burkhard Balz, Member of the Executive Board, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt am Main
  • Dr.-Ing. Leonhard Birnbaum, CEO, E.ON SE, Essen
  • Dr. Roland Busch, CEO, Siemens AG, Munich
  • Markus Duesmann, CEO, AUDI AG, Ingolstadt
  • Dr. Rainer Dulger, President, Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA), Berlin
  • Belén Garijo, M.D., Chair of the Executive Board and CEO, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt
  • Jochen Hanebeck, CEO, Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg
  • Martin Jäger, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Iraq
  • Hartmut Jenner, CEO and Chair of the Management Board, Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG, Winnenden
  • Christian Klein, CEO, SAP SE, Walldorf
  • Carsten Knobel, CEO, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Düsseldorf
  • Dr. Manfred Knof, CEO, Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main
  • Christian Kullmann, CEO, Evonik Industries AG, Essen
  • Dr. Karl Lamprecht, CEO, Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen
  • Dr. Richard Lutz, CEO, Deutsche Bahn AG, Berlin
  • Martina Merz, CEO, thyssenkrupp AG, Essen
  • Andrea Nahles, Chair of the Executive Board, Federal Employment Agency, Nuremberg
  • Prof . Siegfried Russwurm, President, The Federation of German Industries (BDI), Berlin
  • Wolfgang Schmidt, Member of the German Bundestag, Head of the Federal Chancellery and Federal Minister for Special Affairs, Berlin
  • Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Ing. (industrial engineering graduate) Carsten Spohr, CEO, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Frankfurt am Main
  • Michael Theurer, Member of the German Bundestag and Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Berlin
  • Angela Titzrath, CEO, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG, Hamburg
  • Sonja Wärntges, CEO, DIC Asset AG, Frankfurt am Main
  • Lars Wagner, Vorsitzender des Vorstands, MTU Aero Engines AG, München
  • Oliver Zipse, CEO, BMW AG, München

Regional representatives

  • Baden-Württemberg: Prof. Andreas Schmidt, Senior Advisor, Ernst & Young GmbH, Stuttgart
  • Bavaria: Dipl.-Kfm. (business management graduate) Christian Weller von Ahlefeld, Delegate of the Board of Directors, The Mobility House AG, Munich
  • Berlin: Dr. Jens-Uwe Fischer, Honorary Professor, Institute for Infrastructure and Resource Management (IIRM), University of Leipzig
  • Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein: Gert-Hartwig Lescow, CFO, Deputy CEO, Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA, Lübeck; Dipl.-Kfm. (business management graduate) Bernd Richter, Public Auditor/Tax Consultant, Ernst & Young GmbH, Hamburg
  • Lower Saxony: Dipl.-Ök. (economics graduate) Michael Kieckbusch, Member of the Board, Salzgitter AG
  • Austria: Dr. Karin Exner-Wöhrer, CEO, SAG – Salzburger Aluminium AG, Vienna
  • Rhine-Main: Gabriele Eick, Owner, Executive Communications, Frankfurt am Main
  • Rhine/Ruhr: Jens Lemke, Managing Director, Commodis GmbH, Ratingen
  • Zurich/Switzerland: Dipl.-Betriebsw. (business administration graduate) Michael Rümmlein, President, Swiss Seaside Foundation, Zurich
“The BBUG provides a highly effective network for the next generation of German and European business leaders. It also offers a unique forum for cross-sector dialogue and is a highly relevant medium through which to address the challenges facing businesses today.”
Thomas Buberl,
Member of the Board, 130th BBUG

Our team

Michael Schwarz
Michael Schwarz
Michael Schwarz
Managing Director
+49(0)7221 9789-11
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Beate Ando
Beate Ando
Beate Ando
Senior Manager Programmes and Alumni
+49(0)7221 9789-12
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Arthur Tarnowski
Arthur Tarnowski
Arthur Tarnowski
Senior Manager Programmes and Alumni
+49(0)7221 9789-19
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Katrin Kuhne
Katrin Kuhne
Katrin Kuhne
Head of Accounting and General Administration
+49(0)7221 9789-14
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Ahlam Al-Aqili
Ahlam Al-Aqili
Ahlam Al-Aqili
+49(0)7221 9789-13
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Our sustainable network

Our sustainable network
Our sustainable network

In addition to the three-week programme in Baden-Baden, a core feature of BBUG participation includes four joint trips overseas, as well as numerous alumni events both in Germany and abroad. The foreign excursions serve to broaden perspectives on many of the topics discussed. We are interested in a wider European viewpoint and in solving cross-border issues. Our alumni can also keep in contact across eight BBUG regions. Additionally, we publish our own newsletter and the “Palais Biron” magazine.

Our beginnings

Our beginnings
Our beginnings

“In light of the increasingly complex dynamics of our technical, economic and social development, the challenges posed in terms of character, knowledge, education and conduct, far from diminishing, grow ever stronger. [...] The education of the next generation of business leaders is strained by the extraordinary workload, the pace of everyday business, and the natural tendency to focus inwardly on one’s own organisation. As such, there is limited opportunity to contemplate and discuss fundamental questions; no moment of quiet to rise above the daily roar and consider the ‘business of tomorrow’ with an executive eye kept trained on the workforce, the wider economy, and the general public.”
These were the thoughts expressed in 1955 in the BBUG’s founding document to the top representatives of German industry. Today, 150 sessions later, the wording may differ, but the ideas remain the same. When the BBUG was established, the shadow of the recent war still loomed large. After years of dictatorship, extermination and displacement, the aim was “to permanently counteract the deficiency, both quantitative and qualitative, in leadership potential for the next generation of industry [...]”. The BBUG was established by individuals including Wilfried Guth and Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben, alongside 30 founding organisations plus the BDI, the DIHT and the BDA.

Our award: The Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben Medal

The Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben Medal
The Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben Medal

The Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben Medal honours those individuals who have made particular contributions to the BBUG. Its namesake, Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben (1886-1970), was one of the BBUG’s founding fathers. In 1953, as a member of the Siemens supervisory board, he took over as chair of the BDI (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie [Federation of German Industries]) working group for the promotion of young business leaders. With the founding of the “Society for the Promotion of Young Business Leaders” as a supporting association, the BBUG conferences launched as a regular event in 1955.

Our home: Palais Biron

The beautiful Palais Biron built in the 19th century is our conference venue.
The beautiful Palais Biron built in the 19th century is our conference venue.
The beautiful Palais Biron built in the 19th century is our conference venue.
The beautiful Palais Biron built in the 19th century is our conference venue.

There is no place quite like Palais Biron for the BBUG. Its peaceful ambience provides the perfect setting in which to cultivate the special character, the intensive climate of discussion, and the lasting effects of these talks.