„identifying interrelationships, speeding up transformation“
The purpose of the Wittenstein Foundation is to promote education and training as well as science and research. The focus is on clarifying interrelationships between people, technology, nature and society, as well as the economic, technological, social, and ecological requirements to safeguard our resources for future generations, and also on promoting an understanding of the role of business activities for society. The foundation seeks to make an important contribution to the essential transformation of these requirements.
The Wittenstein Foundation was established by Dr. Manfred Wittenstein in August 2021. The foundation is legally responsible under civil law and exclusively and directly pursues charitable objectives. The basic assets amount to EUR 5 million, consisting of 5,000,000 preferred shares in WITTENSTEIN SE.
Organizing and promoting congresses and events that serve interdisciplinary and international exchange among researchers;
Raising awareness for the future challenges facing society and entrepreneurs through general dialog formats between researchers and practitioners;
Providing financial support and awards to researchers, for example, for doctoral theses or other research work, whose research subject matter is related to the foundation’s purpose;
Awarding scholarships to students in the appropriate disciplines. Scholarships may also be awarded to students who intend to pursue a course of study in the appropriate discipline;
Organizing art exhibitions dedicated to the foundation’s purpose;
Encouraging young people interested in technology at schools
„overcoming boundaries, establishing networks”
Over the last few decades, Manfred Wittenstein has turned his parents’ small special machine factory DEWITTA into WITTENSTEIN SE, a leading international company that inspires its customers in the world of the cybertronic motion through innovation, precision, excellence, and sustainability, while at the same time helping conserve our resources for future generations.
This success was only possible because Manfred Wittenstein always geared the further development of his company towards great and changing social challenges. Technology in this sense therefore always has a function that serves humankind. At the same time though, it can also be daunting and seen less as a problem-solver and more as a problem-creator. A broad exchange of information and experiences, as well as mutual understanding across the board is therefore required to constructively shape a sustainable successful future for as many members of society as possible. This is the only way to transform the great challenges of our time and the existing potential solutions into a sustainable evolutionary path that secures prosperity.
On his own path as a visionary and entrepreneur, Manfred Wittenstein went through the transformation process from “lone wolf” to “networker”, continuously widening his circles, meaning spheres of action, learning, and opportunity, over the years. Not just in technological and economic terms, but also regionally, culturally and across the breadth and diversity of social groups. Meaningful experiences and the deep conviction that we as a society as a whole will only master the great challenges of the 21st century, especially taking the interests of future generations into account, if we see the necessary development and transformation processes as a shared responsibility, prompted Manfred Wittenstein to establish this foundation and therefore make a lasting and valuable contribution to fulfilling this mission.
Manfred Wittenstein also does this on behalf of his family.
WITTENSTEIN SE is a family business; the shareholders and family are identical, and the family’s entrepreneurial spirit therefore guides the company’s vision and mission. This equally applies to the Wittenstein Foundation.
Just as Manfred Wittenstein, the initial benefactor under the Articles of Association, expresses his purpose and willingness staunchly and unambiguously, so too do the other family members and shareholders of WITTENSTEIN SE support the Wittenstein Foundation in its intention, strategy and endowment. The committed and permanent realization of the foundation’s charitable purpose is a stated aim and therefore also a personal obligation for the entire family – out of a responsibility that it wants to accept.
the board of trustees
„providing direction and inspiration“
The Board of Trustees is the foundation’s advisory and supervisory body and determines the overarching strategy for the foundation’s work, among other things. In accordance with the Articles of Association, the Board consists of up to seven individuals and sets key priorities for measures to achieve the foundation’s purpose.
Dr. Manfred Wittenstein (Chairman)
Manfred Wittenstein has been active in various capacities for many years, including as a member of the Science and Industry Research Union (Forschungsunion Wirtschaft – Wissenschaft) from 2006 to 2013. In 2007, he was elected President of the German Mechanical and Plant Engineering Association (VDMA) for a three-year term. From 2008 to 2011, he held the office of Vice President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). In the Society for the Promotion of Economic Research (Freunde des ifo Instituts ), he has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2011 and Deputy Chairman since 2015. He has been a member of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition Board of Trustees since 2013 and a member of the Board of Trustees for acatech, the National Academy of Science and Engineering, since 2015
Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein
Anna-Katharina Wittenstein studied business administration at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg and the University of Mannheim. From 2002 to 2006, she initially worked as a consultant and research assistant at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) in Stuttgart before earning her doctorate in engineering at the University of Stuttgart in 2007. In 2008, she took over the management of WITTENSTEIN AG, Switzerland. In 2013, she moved to the USA as Chair of the WITTENSTEIN Holding Corp. Board. On her return to the German corporate headquarters, she was appointed to the WITTENSTEIN SE Board in 2016.
Dr. Bertram Hoffmann
Prof. Dr. Michael Junker
Prof. Dr. Eckard Minx (Deputy Chairman)
The statutory administration of the foundation as well as the ongoing foundation work in accordance with the Board of Trustees’ guidelines is carried out by the employees in the administrative office. Management is responsible for representing the foundation in and out of court.
Dr. Sascha von Berchem | Managing Director
Sascha von Berchem studied economics at Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg. After completing his doctorate and several years of scientific work in research, teaching, and policy consulting, he joined what is now WITTENSTEIN SE in 2005. Since then, Sascha von Berchem has been responsible for various staff positions in central Group management, most recently for policy issues, board communications & public affairs.