Leadership & Board Advisory

Berlin – hometown, personal development space
metropolis and mirror of German history

For more than three decades I have been advising and supporting companies and organizations in the selection and integration of personas in C-level positions.
I have a particular passion for owner-operated and family-run companies, for which I have been working as a Senior Advisor and Executive Coach in recent years. My involvement in founding and developing the Hidden Champions Institute at ESMT Berlin attests to this.

Emotionally, I am particularly connected to my hometown Berlin, for which I am engaged in various ways. One focus is the coordination of the VBKI Forum ‘CEOs for Berlin,’ which advocates for the development of the metropolitan region from an entrepreneurial perspective. In addition, I also serve as a volunteer judge at the Berlin Regional Court and contribute as a member of the Stifterverband’s board in the Berlin/Brandenburg board of trustees.

“The successful selection and integration of a top manager can help to secure the future of an entire organisation. Being a part of this process fills me with joy and a sense of purpose.”

Executive Assessment

e.g. conducted on behalf of the
family-run company Viessmann in Allendorf

Which personality should the company develop further?

When evaluating leadership personalities, I primarily utilize the competency and potential models developed by Egon Zehnder. With these internationally proven tools, I have gained experience in more than 3,000 assessments since 1994. Additionally, I have had the privilege of actively contributing to their continuous refinement in a global context.

The assessment and development of the four personality traits of curiosity, insight, mobilising power and determination is particularly important here. I got the opportunity to prove this skill over the last three decades, in particular in the multi-layer communication processes that result from complex owner and committee structures.

My executive assessment approach consists of the following steps:

  • developing an understanding of the company’s strategic and operational challenges and the position to be filled
  • coordinating competence and potential-oriented requirements
  • preparation of the candidate
  • conducting a three-hour structured interview

In addition, I conduct in-depth reference meetings in an effort to analyse personality traits and behavioural patterns. This is followed by a calibration phase and a report that serves as the basis for further decisions as well as the subsequent feedback and development meeting.

Executive Transition

e.g. conducted on behalf of the
family-run company Knauf in Iphofen

How does a new leader achieve expected effectiveness?

In my opinion, there cannot be a universal recipe for success for executive and leadership transitions. Every situation is unique.
Some leaders switch from an SME to a group and vice versa. Transitions from a line function to a matrix function and vice versa are also common. The new place of activity may itself be undergoing a transfor­mation. Or the company relies on an external CEO instead of a family member.

I support my clients in three clearly structured phases:

I develop an understanding of the specifics of the company and the leadership role before the new leader takes on this role. I obtain information on the organizational structure, leadership team and relevant share- and stakeholders. (period: month 0-1)

I plan and moderate meetings and workshops with the new leader and his/her management team. Topics are: Business Challenges, Organization & Culture, Team Effectiveness, Strategy Development, Share- and Stakeholder Management and so on. I support in the development of necessary decisions and their communication. (period: months 2 to 5).

I obtain references from executives, colleagues and team members and develop a Integration Review Report. Together with the executive, I reflect on the results with the aim of achieving their expected effectiveness comprehensively. (period: months 6 and 7).

In all phases, I accompany the executive through individual coaching, and if desired, beyond.

Executive Coaching

e.g. in cooperation with ESMT Berlin – a leading German business school and the headquarters of the Hidden Champions Institute (HCI).

Which conditions release coaching capabilities?

My qualifications and experience are in transition and development coaching, especially for executives with new responsibilities.
I serve as a personal advisor for chairpersons and governance committees, for top management, and for selected emerging leaders, as well as for interested shareholders and members of business families.

During the coaching, I aim to obtain a deep understanding of the respective personal situation. At the same time, the meetings are characterised by systemic questions and targeted interventions.

As a rule, a coaching lasts between six and twelve months. The formats, frequency, location, and duration of joint appointments are planed based on needs and the individual situation.

A coaching programme essentially consists of the following phases:

  • determining and identifying a need
  • taking stock; arriving at a common understanding of the order
  • reconstructing the concerns; exploring the context
  • going into detail on the content; changing patterns
  • developing solutions and strategies
  • supervising the implementation
  • learning, balancing, evaluation

My coaching programmes are based on the principles for members of the German Federal Association of Executive Coaching (DBVC) and the International Organization for Business Coaching (IOBC), which define binding quality standards. At ESMT Berlin, the leading German business school, I am also a “member of ESMT’s pool of executive coaches”.

Prof. Dr. Jörg K. Ritter


Foreign trade programme and doctorate at Hochschule für Ökonomie Berlin-Karlshorst


Work in the foreign trade area for companies in the furniture and cultural goods industry and in industrial SMEs


Executive assistant at Treuhandanstalt
Experiencing the transformation of an entire national economy shaped me as a person and had a strong influence on my professional career


Senior associate at McKinsey & Company
I learned my trade at this international corporate and strategic consulting company


Consultant, partner and senior advisor at Egon Zehnder
management and coordination of global practice groups. Challenging mandates included succession solutions at the top levels of owner-operated and family-run companies

Since 2013

Coaching Training (DBVC) at the artop – Institut an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (2013), since 2020 Senior Coach (DBVC/IOBC), INSEAD Coaching Certificate (2023/24)

Since 2014

Professorship for business administration at Quadriga Hochschule Berlin; lecturer for the course on “MBA Leadership”

Since 2017

Deputy Chairman of the Hidden Champions Institute (HCI) and “Executive in Residence” at the „European School of Management and Technolgy“ (ESMT), Berlin

Since 2020

Member of the executive committee of the “Verein Berliner Kaufleute und Industrieller“ (VBKI) and member of the advisory board of the family-run company “BEGA Group”.


„HR braucht ein neues Profil“

René Sadowski, Lena Bolz, Jörg K. Ritter,
Human Resources Manager, Feb./Mar 2023

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„6 Traits of Strong Family Businesses“

Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, Sonny Iqbal, Jörg Ritter, René Sadowski,
Havard Businees Review, Publisher on Org JUNE 18, 2019

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„Leadership Lessons from Great Family Businesses“

Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, Sonny Iqbal, Jörg Ritter,
Havard Business Review 04/2015

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„Die Fremden – Die Chancen gelungener Integration – externe Manager in Familienunternehmen“

FAMILIENUNTERNEHMEN – 10 Themen, 10 Experten, 10 Seiten, editor Florian Langenscheidt and Peter May, Verlag Deutsche Standarts, 2014, pages 41-50

„Den Erben Zeit Lassen“

Manfred Grundke, Alexander Knauf, Jörg Ritter, Gabriele Röhrl,
Havard Business Manager, Heft 8, 2014

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„Jeder für sich und keiner fürs Ganze“

stiftung neue verantwortung, Egon Zehnder International, Wissenzentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, 2012, Tobias Leipprand, Prof. Jutta Allmendinger PhD, Dr. Markus Baumanns, Dr. Jörg Ritter


„Leading Global Champions“

Editor: Ayla Busch, Alexander Knauf, Kati Najipoor-Smith, Jörg K. Ritter, Jörg Rocholl,
SpringerGabler 2023

„Management Appraisal: Kompetenzen von Führungskräften bewerten und Potentiale erkennen“

Tilman Gerhardt, Jörg Ritter, Campus Verlag 2004

Oberseestr. 48
D-13053 Berlin