Where did my confidence come from? Well, I’ve known Michael Otto for three decades. I know that he always keeps a close eye on everything that’s going on, that he adapts his approach to suit changing requirements, that he can refocus – and that he does all this without any pomp and circumstance. Back in summer 2012, Michael Otto said with great certainty that in the future there will probably only be two large online retailers with universal offerings: namely, Amazon and Otto.
My trust in Michael Otto as a business leader and his team comes from my experiences with his father Werner Otto and his sons. Michael Otto has expanded the business into the world’s most successful mail-order company and the second largest Internet retailer. And he’s always done all this quietly, with no fuss and without grand statements and great emotion.
Werner Otto was lucky to have such capable children. His sons Michael and Alex successfully continued the company’s mail-order, real-estate and development activities. They always supported new ideas if they were promising. All three Ottos always have a good overview of what’s going on in the world and have never forgotten to keep asking questions. The entrepreneurs of the Otto family are great business people – who are acutely aware of their responsibility towards their customers, employees as well as society and nature.
They’ve created many jobs. And just as important, if not immediately self-evident: they’ve paid their taxes – and that’s a pretty penny, too. This alone makes a huge contribution to public welfare – not to mention that made by their not-for-profit foundations and through donations. Michael Otto has done a great deal for the salus publica, for public welfare – something he continues to do today. There aren’t too many big business leaders out there who have become actively involved in not-for-profit activities to such an extent.
Michael Otto, following the example set by his father, is always aware of his social and political responsibility. He leads his life in the true spirit of what Article 14 of Germany’s constitution sets out: “Property brings with it a duty. Its use should also serve the public good.” Michael Otto continues to serve as a beacon of how the head of a company who is aware of his social responsibility can also achieve lasting success.
In conclusion, I would like to wish Michael Otto all the best for his birthday and hope he continues his work for a long while yet!