Prof. Dr. Michael Otto


In the course of his life, Prof Dr Michael Otto has received numerous awards for his work as an entrepreneur, conservationist, benefactor and socially committed citizen. He has also held, and continues to hold, some significant honorary posts.

Here is an overview of these awards and posts:


  • The German Marketing Prize, 1982 
  • Manager of the Year, 1986 and 2001 
  • Ecological Manager of the Year, 1991
  • International Retailer of the Year 1995 from the National Retail Federation, New York 
  • The International Corporate Conscience Award for Environmental Initiatives 1996 from the Council on Economic Priorities, New York
  • The 1996 Binding Prize for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection from the Binding Foundation, Schaan/Liechtenstein
  • The Alfred Töpfer Medal from the Hamburg Senate, 1996 
    The 1997 German Environment Prize from the German Environment Foundation 
  • Honorary Senator of the Hamburg and Greifswald Universities, 2000 
  • The 2000 Prize for Business Ethics from the German Network for Business Ethics
  • Inclusion in the DMA Hall of Fame, New York, 2001
  • The Sustainability Leadership Award, 2002
  • The Prize for Understanding and Tolerance from the Jewish Museum Berlin, 2004
  • The B.A.U.M. Special Environmental Prize, 2005 
  • The Vernon A. Walters Award 2005 from the Atlantik-Brücke Foundation
  • The German Founder’s Prize, Lifetime’s Work Category, 2006
  • The International Lifetime Award 2006 from the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Association and the ‘Versandhausberater’ specialist journal
  • The German Grand Merit Cross with Star, 2006
  • The German Retail Prize in the Lifetime Award Category, 2007 
  • The Medal for Outstanding Services to the Foundation Sector, 2008
  • The Theodor Heuss Prize, 2010
  • The UNESCO Children in Need Support Award, 2010
  • The Walter Scheel Prize, 2011 
  • The Heinz Sielmann Honorary Award, 2011
  • The International TÜV Rheinland Global Compact Award, 2011 
    Honorary Doctorate from the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, 2012 
  • Inclusion in the Business Hall of Fame of the Manager Magazine, 2012
  • Honorary citizen of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, 2013
  • Steiger-Award for commitment in the environmental sector, 2013
  • Bavarian Order of Merit, 2015

Honorary appointments:

  • Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Politics and Industry (Rissen House), Hamburg
    Since 1983 Prof Dr Michael Otto has been Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Society for Politics and Industry (Rissen House), in Hamburg. The Society was founded in 1954 by leading figures from the spheres of politics, commerce and industry, the churches and the University of Hamburg, to promote the new democratic beginnings through political education in Germany after the Second World War. The Rissen House International Institute for Politics and Industry has developed into a well-known national and international educational establishment over the last fifty years.

  • Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of the Association of Arts and Culture, Berlin
    The Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy at the Federation of German Industries is the most richly traditional institution for the promotion of culture by businesses in Germany. It has been promoting art and culture since 1951 and cultivating a society where culture is seen as an indispensable resource. It promotes artists in the areas of architecture, the visual arts, literature and music with membership contributions and donations from its 400 members, which include some leading German companies.

  • Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Werner Otto Foundation for Medical Research
    The Werner Otto Foundation was set up by Werner Otto in 1969. The purpose of the Foundation is to promote medical research at Hamburg hospitals, particularly at the University Medical Centre in Hamburg’s Eppendorf neighbourhood. In accordance with the wishes of its founder, Werner Otto, the guiding principle in all the foundation’s activities is to help out particularly where other funding is insufficient or not available quickly enough.

  • Vice-President of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce
    Prof Dr Michael Otto was Vice-President of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce from 1986 to 2007.
  • Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the WWF Germany Environmental Foundation
    Prof Dr Michael Otto was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the WWF Germany Environmental Foundation from 1994 to 2012 and is its Honorary Chairman today. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is one of the largest independent nature conservation organisations in the world.