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Press Release

ESMT Berlin and Volkswagen strengthen diversity in management with new academic chair

Diversity in Leadership
ESMT Berlin and Volkswagen AG have established a new endowed chair at the international business school to bring more women and people with diverse backgrounds into leadership positions.

The Volkswagen and Audi Chair for Diversity in Leadership is based on a threefold approach of research, practical exchange, and competence building. The appointment procedure for the professorship has just started.

“With students, faculty, and employees from more than 60 countries, diversity is our everyday business,” says ESMT President Jörg Rocholl. “It plays a decisive role at ESMT in how we teach and develop responsible leaders for companies and institutions all over the world. This chair is an important contribution to efforts for equality, inclusion, and diversity in leadership positions globally.”

The research of the professorship has two core tracks. The first track will examine the persistence of the diversity gap. The proportion of female executives in German companies, for example, is still just over 20 percent. The second track will focus on the importance and benefits of diverse and inclusive leadership in an increasingly global economy.

“For the Volkswagen Group, diversity means far more than promoting women. It applies to nationality, origin, age structure, qualifications, and personalities. Only diversity can help us to become quicker, more agile, more innovative, and thus more sustainable during a time when society and the economy are undergoing a profound transformation and, in many cases, even disruptive changes,” says Hiltrud D. Werner, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs. “With this endowed chair, we want to contribute to the advancement of diversity in research and teaching.”

The chair will also serve as an exchange platform by creating a space where diverse mid-level and senior leaders can share their experiences and challenges and explore new opportunities. The knowledge created from research and practice will be used to design effective leadership courses introducing inclusive methods for the workplace.


About ESMT Berlin

ESMT Berlin was founded by 25 leading global companies and institutions. The international business school offers a full-time MBA, an executive MBA, a master's in management, as well as open enrollment and customized executive education programs. ESMT focuses on three main topics: leadership, innovation, and analytics. ESMT faculty publishes in top academic journals. Additionally, the business school provides an interdisciplinary platform for discourse between politics, business, and academia. It is based in Berlin, Germany, with a branch office in Shanghai, China. ESMT is a private business school with the right to grant PhDs and is accredited by the German state, AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS, and FIBAA.