NEWS1 August 2011

Matthias Hartmann to replace Wübbenhorst as GfK CEO

Europe People

GERMANY— Matthias Hartmann, global head of strategy and industries at IBM Business Services, is to replace Klaus Wübbenhorst as CEO of research agency GfK by the end of this year.

Hartmann joined IBM in 1988 and has since held several senior roles in Europe and the US, including as German managing director of the firm’s business consulting division.

He joins GfK as the company implements a new corporate strategy entitled ‘Own the future’, which includes a reorganisation of the firm around ‘Consumer Choices’ (currency sales and media research) and ‘Consumer Experiences’ (custom and ad hoc research). Hartmann will take up his role on 1 January 2012 “at the latest”, the company said. He replaces Wübbenhorst, who is stepping down after 20 years with the company – including 13 years as chief executive – for personal reasons.

Arno Mahlert, chairman of GfK’s supervisory board, said: “We are delighted to have found such a competent successor to Professor Dr Klaus Wubbenhorst in Matthias Hartmann. His many years’ strategic experience in a service business and international expertise at a leading global services company mean Matthias Hartmann is the ideal person to lead GfK into a global and digital future under its new corporate strategy.”

The firm also announced that Gerhard Hausruckinger will take responsibility for its new Consumer Choices division, which will include the Retail and Technology division that he already runs, as well as GfK’s continuous media measurement activities. Debra Pruent, joint head of custom research, will take responsibility for the Consumer Experiences sector, which will include ad hoc media research activities as well as all custom research.

Petra Heinlein, who served alongside Pruent in the custom research division, is leaving the company to pursue a career in politics, while Wilhelm Wessels, who ran the media division, is to retire at the end of September.