The WIFU-Team

Work at the Witten Institute for Family Business (WIFU) is very diverse. In the academic field it includes research and training, while practical exchange involves organising almost 30 events each year. Staff permanently employed at the Institute, our visiting academics, doctoral and scholarship holders – all of us are passionate about research, training, development and the education of potential successors in family businesses as well as organising an exchange of practice and experience among family entrepreneurs and members of business families. To the people who work at WIFU, their work is not just a career, it’s a calling.

Institute management / Foundation management

The Institute management team is involved mainly in acquiring and publishing research findings for business. Actual issues from industry and business are compiled on an academic basis, and, in collaboration with the WIFU academics, evaluated and presented in practical terms. The practical guidelines, studies and practical publications are made available to the public through a range of communication channels and media. This approach is augmented by a programme of events for family businesses and business families hosted by members of the team at the WIFU Foundation. Our events management team organizes not only events for supporters at the WIFU Foundation, but also a range of independent, interactive event formats aimed at conveying experience reports and academic findings designed to help family businesses and business families prepare for the future.

Both teams work closely to disseminate the knowledge generated at WIFU among the non-academic public. Fundraising done by the WIFU Foundation ensures that the Institute can continue and implement its research strategy.

PUBLICATIONS (SELECTION)


Google Scholar

Julia Laag
Project Manager Events
Phone: +49 2302 926 549
Dr. Ruth Orenstrat
Institute Coordinator / Marketing & Communication
Phone: +49 2302 926 506
Jennifer Tiedemann
Project manager events and general foundation management
Phone: +49 2302 926 528
Prof. Dr. Tom A. Rüsen
Managing Director WIFU / CEO WIFU-Foundation
Phone: +49 2302 926 519
Svenja Kirch
Project Manager Online Marketing
Phone: +49 2302 926 523
Monika Nadler
Publication Coordinator
Phone: +49 2302 926 535
Professors at WIFU
Prof. Dr. Tom A. Rüsen
Managing Director WIFU / CEO WIFU-Foundation
Phone: +49 2302 926 519
PD Dr. Ulrich Bretschneider
Interim Professor at the Chair of Corporate Entrepreneurship and Digitalisation Transformation in Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 551
Prof. Dr. Marcel Hülsbeck
Academic Director WIFU/Endowed Chair of Management of in Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 518
Prof. Rainer Kirchdörfer
Honorary Professor at the Chair of Law for Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Prof. Dr. Heiko Kleve
Chairholder Organisation and Development of Business Families
Phone: +49 2302 926 538
Prof. Dr. Arist von Schlippe
Chairholder of Leadership & Dynamics in Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schreiber
Chairholder Law for Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 559
Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wimmer
Extrabudgetary Professor for Leadership & Dynamics in Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
International visiting professors
Prof. Dr. Joseph H. Astrachan
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Prof. Dr. Ethel Brundin
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Prof. Dr. iur. Brun-Hagen Hennerkes
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Law for Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Prof. Dr. Hermann Frank
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Prof. Dr. Alberto Gimeno
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Prof. Dr. Andreas Hack
Visiting Professor at the Research and Teaching Department for Management of Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Prof. Dr. iur. Knut Werner Lange
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Law for Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Prof. Dr. Kavil Ramachandran
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Organisation and Development of Business Families"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Prof. Dr. Kay Windthorst
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Law for Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Prof. Dr. Thomas Zellweger
Visiting Professor at the research and teaching area "Management of Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Academic assistance
Riccardo Keßler
Research Fellow at the Chair of Organisation and Development of Business Families
Phone: +49 2302 926 564
Dr. Sigrun Caspary
Research and teaching area “Organisation and Development of Business Families”
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Dr. Maike Gerken
Research Fellow at the Endowed Chair of Management of Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 554
Dr. Anne Katarina Heider
Research Fellow at the Endowed Chair of Management of Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 534
Dr. Tobias Köllner
Research Fellow at the Chair of Organisation and Development of Business Families
Phone: +49 2302 926 521
Scholarship holders
Sina Bohnen
Scholarship holder of the WIFU Foundation
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Dr. Thomas Urban
Scholarship holder of the WIFU Foundation
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Kristin Beer, M.A.
Scholarship holder of the WIFU Foundation
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Secretarial staff
Sabrina Maier
Executive Assistant / Secretariat WIFU-Foundation
Phone: +49 2302 926 510
Sandra Wiegard
Secretariat managing and academic director / Chair of Management of Family Businesses
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Visiting academics and lecturers
Dr. Ann Sophie Löhde
Senior Research Fellow
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Dr. Trung Quang Dinh
Senior Research Fellow
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
Giovanna Campopiano, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow
Phone: +49 2302 926 541
LL.M. Olaf Gillert
Research and teaching area "Law for Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Dipl. Soz.wiss. Torsten Groth
Research and teaching area "Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Dr. iur. Rainer Kögel
Research and teaching area "Law for Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
M.A. Oliver Melches
Research and teaching area "Law for Family Businesses"
Phone: +49 2302 926 515
Prof. Dr. Markus Plate
Research and teaching area “Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses”
Phone: +49 2302 926 513
M.A. Regine Töpfer
Research and teaching area "Organisation and Development of Business Families"
Phone: +49 2302 926 513


The Department of Organisation and Development of Business Families researches the family side of family businesses. On the basis of a range of social science perspectives, we investigate what it means to members of business families to be born into this type of family.

Prof. Dr. Heiko Kleve
Chairholder Organisation and Development of Business Families

As WIFU’s first historian, I am delighted by the openness which the Institute shows towards new approaches. There is still a lot of interest in my data collection (in archives) and my interpretation of the crisis resilience of family businesses over time.

Dr. Thomas Urban
Scholarship holder of the WIFU Foundation

I have enjoyed being part of WIFU for almost ten years. During this time I have been able to assist in a number of fundamental developments. It never gets boring – it is fun working in a team, dealing with varied daily affairs and having the freedom to contribute part of oneself.

Sabrina Maier
Executive Assistant / Secretariat WIFU-Foundation

I have been steering WIFU’s fortunes for over ten years. During this time, working with researchers and family entrepreneurs has become a labour of love. I would not hesitate to say that I have the world’s best job. My career is my calling.

Prof. Dr. Tom A. Rüsen
Managing Director WIFU / CEO WIFU-Foundation

Working at WIFU is especially fascinating because I work together with people of practice and people of theory. I work simultaneously in two completely different marketing areas, and I serve two target groups. Different points of view enlarge my own perspective and my daily work is never dull.

Svenja Kirch
Project Manager Online Marketing

CAREERS AT WIFU


WIFU offers various jobs and opportunities for funding in research and training. Find out here about the latest offers.

Careers at WIFU