Klaus Michael Kühne: leading entrepreneurial figure and logistics benefactor
Klaus-Michael Kühne (*1937) was inducted into the Logistics Hall of Fame in 2005 on account of his entrepreneurial achievements in the field of freight forwarding and his personal commitment as a benefactor of further training and education as well as science and research in the fields of transportation and logistics.
|logistics services, management, science and education
|President and Delegate of the Administrative Board and biggest single shareholder of international logistics service provider Kühne + Nagel, founder of the Kühne Foundation, Schindellegi, Switzerland
|June 2, 1937 in Hamburg, Germany
|Induction into the Logistics Hall of Fame
1937 Born on June 2 in Hamburg, apprenticeship in banking and foreign trade, various positions with associated freight forwarding companies, shipping lines and shipbrokers
1963 Kühne joins the group management team of Kühne & Nagel as a personally liable partner at the age of 26
1966 Appointed CEO of Kühne + Nagel Speditions-AG founded in 1965
1974 The company moves its headquarters to the Swiss town on Schindellegi on Lake Zurich
1976 The Kühne family sets up the nonprofit Kühne Foundation, whose sole sponsor is today Klaus-Michael Kühne
1981 The Lonrho conglomerate acquires a 50% stake in Kühne + Nagel. Klaus-Michael Kühne becomes one of the Executive Directors
1991 Klaus-Michael Kühne buys back the stake Lonrho holds in his company
1992 Viag and Deutsche Handelsbank acquire holdings in Kühne + Nagel
1994 Kühne + Nagel goes pubic; Kühne holds 55.75 percent of the shares
2005 Induction into the Logistics Hall of Fame
- It is because of him that the Swiss town of Schindellegi is known throughout the world. In the mid-1970s, Alfred and Klaus-Michael Kühne were so annoyed with the Social-Liberal coalition of the time, and above all with Chancellor Willy Brandt, that they decided to move their private residence and their company domicile to Switzerland. From his new base in the Alpine republic, Klaus-Michael Kühne not only enjoyed business success but also acted as a benefactor who did much to advance the cause of the transport industry and logistics through his personal efforts and commitment.
- At the age of 26, Klaus-Michael Kühne joined his father's freight forwarding company as a personally liable partner. Between the 80s and 90s, Kühne also bought his own ships and tried his hand as a shipping entrepreneur. But the company ended in "shipwreck", and he had to sell parts of his operations to the Lonrho Group in the UK. Kühne succeeded in making a comeback, bought back his stake, and later successfully took the company public. Under his leadership, the logistics service provider became the world's largest sea freight and fourth-largest air freight forwarder with a total of 23,000 employees.
- The nonprofit Kühne Foundation is now sponsored exclusively by Klaus-Michael Kühne as the sole benefactor. Kühne invests five million Swiss francs in the Foundation each year, the idea being that it should one day also hold his shares in Kühne + Nagel.
- For many years now, the Foundation has been supporting the training of vocational college teachers in teacher training seminars in Switzerland and Germany. Kühne transfers five million Swiss francs to his Foundation each year. Kühne also uses the money to support research as well as further training and education in the logistics field – through, among other establishments, the Kühne Centre for Logistics Management at the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management and the Logistics Department at the TU Berlin (Berlin Institute of Technology). When the Hamburg Senate came up with the idea of realising a project for logistics training of a university standard, Kühne decided to found the "Hamburg School of Logistics" together with the city of Hamburg and Hamburg University of Technology. The "Hamburg School of Logistics" later became the "Kühne Logistics University – Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung (KLU)".
- Developing the work of his foundation is something that is particularly close to the heart of Klaus-Michael Kühne. He sees it as serving the general good while lending additional professionalism to the task of logistics.
Photos: Jan Scheutzow