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Dr Michael Otto

Chairman of the Otto Group Supervisory Board

Dr Michael Otto was born in 1943 and is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Hamburg-based retail and services group, Otto (GmbH & Co KG).

After finishing school and gaining his university entrance certificate, Michael Otto trained at a bank and then went on to study economics, concluding with a doctorate in public governance and economics. While still at university he went into business for himself in the property and financial brokerage business.

Dr Michael Otto joined the Otto company in 1971, assuming responsibility on the Executive Board for the Textile Purchasing division which he provided with a new organisational structure.

From February 1981 to October 2007 he led the Otto Group as Chairman of the Executive Board. Under his leadership the company developed into the largest international mail-order group and the only such company active worldwide. Today, the Otto Group has a presence in more than 20 countries with 123 important companies.

In 2007 Dr Michael Otto handed over the Chairmanship of the Executive Board to Hans-Otto Schrader, who will continue at the helm as Otto Group CEO until 2017.

Dr Michael Otto is married to the artist Christl Otto. They have two grown-up children. Since 2012 his son, Benjamin Otto, has been active in the Group.

For Dr Michael Otto it is also important to take responsibility for tasks in our society that lie outside the Group’s business activities. This attitude is evident in his foundation activities, his numerous commitments to the common good and in his taking on a range of honorary appointments.

  • Dr Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Otto Group

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  • Dr Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Otto Group

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  • Dr Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Otto Group

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  • Dr Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Otto Group

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  • Dr Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Otto Group

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  • Dr Michael Otto visiting company premises in 2007

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  • Dr Michael Otto loves adventuring in the wild - it's how he's best able to relax.

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  • Dr Michael Otto in Zambia, October 2000

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  • Dr Michael Otto with his father in 1959, on the construction site of the new Otto Group headquarters in Bramfeld.

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  • The Otto Versand headquarters at the beginning of the Seventies.

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  • Dr Michael and Prof. Dr. h.c. Werner Otto in 1980, just before Michael takes over as CEO.

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  • Dr. Michael Otto, Prof. Dr. h.c. Werner Otto and Günther Nawrath, from whom he takes over the Chairmanship of the Executive Board in 1981.

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  • otto.de 1995

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  • Numerous iconic models such as Claudia Schiffer have graced the cover of the OTTO catalogue.

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  • The gala festivities in 1999 marking the 50th Anniversary of Otto Versand Hamburg.

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  • 'Helping people to help themselves' is the guiding principle of Cotton made in Africa. This approach has convinced both partners and supporters.

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  • Dr Michael Otto received the German Grand Merit Cross with Star

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  • In 2006 Dr Michael and Prof. Dr. h.c. Werner Otto jointly received the German Founders' Award for their life's work.

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  • Dr Michael Otto with his son Benjamin, who has been with the Group since 2012.

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  • Dr Michael Otto is made honorary citizen of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

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  • Dr Michael Otto's 2007 farewell gala celebration, with many prominent Otto Group CEOs.

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  • Dr Michael Otto and Helmut Schmidt in 2007. He is a member of the 'Friday Society' created by the Ex-Chancellor.

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  • Dr Michael Otto is personally committed, travelling regularly to Cotton made in Africa project regions.

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  • Through the Cotton made in Africa initiative, Dr Michael Otto is giving African cotton farmers' families new prospects.

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  • Dr Michael Otto in 2011 at the Hamburg Forum for Nature Conservation, one of his Foundation's inititiatives.

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  • Dr Michael Otto supporting the Hamburg Youth Music Academy with the construction of its new hall in 2010.

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  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Yunus congratulates entrepreneur Otto on the 5th anniversary of the Aid by Trade Foundation

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  • Dr Otto on the 10th Anniversary of the Hamburg Secondary School Model in 2011.

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  • Dr Michael Otto and Hamburg's Lord Mayor Olaf Scholz in 2011, together supporting the Hamburg Secondary School Model.

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  • Dr Michael Otto at an employee event in 2011.

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  • Dr Michael Otto loves nature. He recharges his batteries walking on the beach on Sylt.

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  • Dr Michael Otto and his wife Christl walking on the island of Sylt.

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  • Dr Michael Otto with Kevin Costner on Sylt for the launch of the Arqueonautas online shop in 2011.

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  • Dr Michael Otto with Kevin Costner on Sylt for the launch of the Arqueonautas online shop in 2011.

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  • In 2012 the Helmut Hübner School in Hamburg's Barmbek district introduces school gastronomy, with Michael Otto's support.

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  • Through its Aqua Agents initiative the Michael Otto Foundation raises children's awareness of the importance of protecting wetlands and waterways.

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  • Dr Michael Otto and Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel

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  • Dr. Michael Otto

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  • Dr. Michael Otto

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  • Wie man sich Wünsche erfüllt

    How to make wishes come true

    1969 archive image film on Otto's business. (German, 25:36 mins)

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  • Meilenstein-Projekt

    Milestone Project

    Global employee event (German/English, 5:53 mins, 2005).

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  • Rotes Band

    Red ribbon

    2006 film on the German Founders' Award for the life's work of Michael and Werner Otto.

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  • Handeln aus Leidenschaft (1981-2007)

    Action through passion (1981 - 2007)

    2007 film on the business of the Otto Group.

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  • Amerika war mein Jugendtraum

    America was the dream of my youth.

    2011 documentary on the entrepreneur Michael Otto

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