Academy for Business Executives

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The headquarters of the Academy for Managers in Überlingen

The Academy for Business Executives is a training and further education institution founded in 1956 and based in Überlingen on Lake Constance .


The forerunner of today's institution was the Academy for Executives Bad Harzburg , which was founded in Bad Harzburg in 1956 by the former National Socialist constitutional lawyer Reinhard Höhn . The academy became known throughout Germany through the Harzburg model . Introduced in 1962 as a closed management system, it had a lasting impact on the understanding of leadership in management until the 1980s . As a model, it showed a way of working for companies to organize and control operational processes in everyday business life. The model provided managers with knowledge of how they could lead in an employee relationship with the delegation of responsibility and the associated job description. At its zenith in 1974, the Academy for Executives trained more than 35,000 executives a year.

When Höhn's prominent role in the Third Reich became public, this heralded the decline of both the model and the academy. During this time, the former SS leader Justus Beyer was also a lecturer at the academy.

In 1989 the Bad Harzburger Bildungsverbund went bankrupt and was split up. The Cognos AG , Hamburg took over the seminar business, began its economic consolidation and established under the brand name "The Academy" new to the education market. The former academy for distance learning (AFF) was taken over by another investor and is now known as afw Wirtschaftsakademie Bad Harzburg.

Since 1997

From 1997 to 2012 the academy was led by Daniel F. Pinnow , who was also appointed to the board of Cognos AG in Hamburg from 2004 to 2007. In 2005 he relocated to Überlingen . In terms of content, he distanced himself from the Harzburg model and, with systemic leadership, developed a new management approach with which the academy was able to re-establish itself successfully in the German education market in the following years.

After Pinnow left the academy, the academy was led by Simon Beck, Lars-Peter Linke and Jörg Schmidt; from 2014 Simon Beck was the sole managing director. Lucia Sauer Al-Subaey has been running the academy since June 2016, and together with Stefanie Krügl since February 2018.


The academy is managed in the legal form of a GmbH and, in addition to its headquarters in Überlingen on Lake Constance, has branches in Dortmund and, since January 2015, also in Hamburg with the “Akademie International” business unit. The branch in Bad Harzburg was closed at the beginning of 2016. The owner is Cognos AG.

According to its own statements, the academy has over 10,000 participants per year and describes itself as one of the most important institutes in German-speaking countries. In 2016 and 2017, the academy for executives was named “Best Institute for Vocational Education” by FOCUS MONEY Deutschlandtest .


  • Manfred Boni, Frank Deppe , Mira Maase, Gerd Wilbert: Management school for capital. Theory and practice of the Harzburg Academy for business executives . Frankfurt am Main 1975 (= information reports of the IMSF ).
  • Reinhard Höhn: The Harzburg model in practice. Bad Harzburg 1967.
  • Reinhard Höhn: Management training course in business. 12th edition Bad Harzburg 1972.
  • Reinhard Höhn: job description and guidance. 9th edition Bad Harzburg 1976.
  • Wolfgang Grunwald, Wilmar F. Bernthal: Controversy in German Management: The Harzburg Model Experience. In: Academy of Management Review , 1983.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Thinking along, giving responsibility. In: May 17, 2010, accessed July 13, 2018 .
  2. Michael Wildt : Reinhard Höhn. From the Reich Security Main Office to the Harzburg Academy . Paper for the conference " Political public sphere and intellectual positions in Germany around 1950 and around 1930 ", 19. – 21. March 2009 in Hamburg, p. 7.
  3. Der Spiegel: Management model with problems , accessed on April 27, 2015.
  4. a b c The Academy: About Us. Retrieved October 25, 2019 .
  5. "systemic" movements netzaffiner information dissemination . (PDF) Retrieved October 25, 2019 .
  6. Bertelsmann Stiftung Leadership Series 2010, p. 43 f. ( Memento of April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF)