Burkhard Schwenker (born 20 April 1958 in Minden, Germany) is a German business consultant. He served as CEO of Roland Berger (then called Roland Berger Strategy Consultants) from 2003 until July 2010, when he was appointed head of the supervisory board of the firm. He served as CEO again from May 2013 to July 2014, after his successor/antecessor Martin C. Wittig stepped back due to health reasons. In September 2010, Schwenker was additionally appointed the head of the Roland Berger Foundation.
Education and career
Burkhard Schwenker studied mathematics and economics at the University of Bielefeld. He started his professional career as the assistant to the board of management at Papierwerke Waldhof-Aschaffenburg AG (PWA). After completing his PhD in economics, he became a member of the company then called Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in 1989, and was elected partner in 1992.
In 1994, he took over the management of the Center of Excellence in Corporate Development. In 1998, he led negotiations concerning the management buyout of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, between Deutsche Bank and the partners of the company. In 2003, Schwenker was appointed the head of the Executive Committee of Roland Berger, this appointment being renewed for another term by the partners in 2006. In July 2010, he was appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board. After his successor, Martin C. Wittig, stepped back for health reasons on 4 May 2013, Schwenker resumed his responsibilities as CEO, until Charles-Edouard Bouée was appointed CEO by the Partners. Schwenker then returned to his post as head of the supervisory board until 2015.
In 2008 the Leipzig Graduate School of Management (HHL) awarded him an honorary professorship. Together with Torsten Wulf, Burkhard Schwenker has been the Academic Director of the school's Center for Scenario Planning. He sits on the Board of the German Academic Association for Business Research and is a member of the University Council at the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg. In addition, he is a Trustee of Dresden International University and the EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht (University for Business and Law). Burkhard Schwenker is also Visiting Fellow at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
When he changed to the Supervisory Board of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in 2010, Burkhard Schwenker created a moderate uproar by writing a farewell letter to the staff at the company in which he critically reflected upon his time as the company's CEO.
Additionally, Schwenker is the initiator of Best of European Business.
Burkhard Schwenker is married and has three children. He lives in Hamburg.
Besides his tasks as Chairman of the Advisory Board of Roland Berger, Burkhard Schwenker is engaged in various initiatives and organizations. Since 1 September 2010, Burkhard Schwenker has headed the Roland Berger Foundation. Each year, the foundation awards scholarships to underprivileged youth. Additionally, Schwenker supports the "Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen (VdU)", the German branch of the international FCEM, and its key project focusing on the promotion of a stronger presence of women on supervisory boards.
He is Deputy Chairman of Atlantik Brücke e.V. and Chairman of the Board of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of the Senate or Board of Trustees for the following: Germany's National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech); the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics e.V.; the Wertekommission — Initiative wertebewusste Führung (Values Commission for the Initiative on Values-Based Management); the Stiftung Initiative Wertestipendium (Foundation for the Values Stipend Foundation); the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the "Lebendige Stadt" ("Vibrant City") Foundation. He is also one of the trustees of berufundfamilie GmbH, an initiative of the non-profit Hertie-foundation, as well as of Wertekommission e.V.
As a European manager, Professor Schwenker is much-consulted expert on economics in national and international media. Besides his publications about professional fields such as strategy, organization and change management, Burkhard Schwenker can also be seen as a promoter of a European-wide, value-oriented and sustainable approach to management. As the head of the supervisory board at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants — the only globally active consultancy rooted in Europe — Schwenker has stood up for a more self-confident Europe for years in his role as the initiator and jury-member of "Best of European Business". This award acknowledges European businesses and rewards their economic success.
In addition, Burkhard Schwenker acts as counsel for the Roland Berger Foundation for European business management and as vice-chairman of Atlantik-Brücke e.V., an organization promoting good relations between the United States of America and Germany. He also writes about and discusses European topics as a guest-author of various Business Magazines.
Burkhard Schwenker has authored a number of publications, including various books about economics- and management-related topics. In November 2012, he published a book on leadership, called Gute Führung / On good management. "The corporate lifecycle" is an essay by Burkhard Schwenker featuring interviews with Franz Fehrenbach, Jürgen Hambrecht, Wolfgang Reitzle and Alexander Rittweger. In February 2011, he published Europa führt! Plädoyer für ein erfolgreiches Managementmodell (Europe shows the way! The case for a superior management model). This book, published as a part of the rethink:CEO-series, deals with the "Erfolgsmodell Europa" (Success-story Europe). In Schwenker's eyes, this European management approach based on consistency, local strengths, global cooperations and social as well as sustainable orientation is the successful counterpart to the American leadership-style.
- Schwenker, B. (2011), Re:Think CEO 4. Europe takes the lead! Speaking up for a successful management approach (abstract; in German), original title: Europa führt! Plädoyer für ein erfolgreiches Managementmodell; Cologne: BrunoMedia; ISBN 978-3-9814012-6-4
- Schwenker, B. (2009), Management between strategy and finance: the four seasons of business; Berlin / Heidelberg: Springer; ISBN 978-3-540-85274-2
- Schwenker, B. (2008), Re:Think CEO 1. Thinking strategy — leading with courage (abstract; in German), original title: Re:Think CEO 1. Strategisch denken — Mutiger führen; Cologne: BrunoMedia; ISBN 978-3-9811506-6-7
- Schwenker, B. / Spremann, K. (2007), Management between strategy and finance: the four seasons of business (abstract; in German), original title: Unternehmerisches Denken zwischen Strategie und Finanzen: Die vier Jahreszeiten der Unternehmung; Berlin: Springer; ISBN 978-3-540-75950-8.
- Schwenker, B. / Bötzel, S. (2006), On the road to growth: gaining success through expansion and increased efficiency (abstract; in German), original title: Auf Wachstumskurs: Erfolg durch Expansion und Effizienzsteigerung; Berlin / Heidelberg / New York: Springer; ISBN 978-3-540-26755-3
- Schwenker, B. (1989), Competitive service providers: market dynamics and strategic development guidelines (abstract; in German), original title: Dienstleistungsunternehmen im Wettbewerb: Marktdynamik und strategische Entwicklungslinien; Wiesbaden: Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag;
- Burkhard Schwenker, Mario Müller-Dofel: Gute Führung — Über den Lebenszyklus von Unternehmen. BrunoMedia, Köln 2012, ISBN 3943442004.
- http://www.rolandberger.com/expertise/publications/2011-02-09-rbsc-pub-Europa_fuehrt_de.html, rolandberger.com
- https://portal.d-nb.de/opac.htm?method=showFirstResultSite¤tResultId=atr%253D111621437%2526any&selectedCategory=any, Catalogue Deutsche National Bibliothek (German National Library)