George Kohlrieser: Biography highlights

George Kohlrieser is an organizational and clinical psychologist, veteran hostage negotiator, award-winning author and Distinguished Professor of Leadership.

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Full biography of George Kohlrieser

George Kohlrieser’s background

He is Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD and consultant to several global companies including Accenture, Amer Sports, Borealis, Cisco, Coca-Cola, HP, Hitachi, IBM, IFC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Morgan Stanley, Motorola, NASA, Navis, Nestlé, Nokia, Pictet, Rio Tinto, Roche, Santander, Swarovski, Sara Lee, Tetra Pak, Toyota, and UBS.

He is a regular speaker at management and professional conferences around the world including the World Business Forum, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations.

His research, teaching and consulting activities are focused on high performance leadership, high performance teamwork, conflict management, change management, dialogue and negotiation, coaching, stress management, work-life balance, and personal and professional development. He is also a Police Psychologist and Hostage Negotiator focusing on aggression management and hostage negotiations. He has worked in over 100 countries spanning five continents.

Professor Kohlrieser is Director of the High Performance Leadership (HPL) Program, an intense six day IMD program for experienced senior leaders and the Advanced High Performance Leadership (AHPL) for former HPL participants.

He completed his doctorate at Ohio State University where he wrote his dissertation on cardiovascular recovery of law enforcement leaders following high-stress situations. His research has made significant contributions to understanding the role self-mastery and social dialogue has in helping leaders sustain high performance through lifelong learning.

Professor Kohlrieser is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, adjunct faculty member of Union Graduate School, Antioch, Ohio, adjunct faculty member of Fielding Institute San Francisco, California, adjunct faculty member of Zagreb University, Croatia.

He is past president of the International Transactional Analysis Association, a former advisory board member of the NeuroLeadership Institute, and is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF).

Professor Kohlrieser is a notable media commentator on issues related to leadership, conflict, aggression management, and hostage negotiation, and had his own highly acclaimed radio call-in talk show in the US for over 10 years. He has consulted for the BBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS and his work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Financial Times, Forbes and other leading newspapers and magazines. He has been a speaker at TEDx talks in both New York and Lausanne.


He is the author of the internationally bestselling book, Hostage At The Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance, which received the “Best Business Book Award 2007” from DCF (French Association of Business Leaders) and “Best Management Book 2008” in Germany by

His second book, Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential Through Secure Base Leadership, has been nominated one of the Best Business Books of 2013 by Soundview.

Awards and accolades

He has won numerous personal and program awards. The Learning Leadership program he leads as part of IMD’s Global Leadership in the Cloud curriculum was awarded a Gold Medal for being the best advance in unique learning technology by Brandon Hall consulting, a leading learning and development research firm (2015).

He received the CEEMAN Global Champion Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013), the prestigious BrandLaureate International Brand Personality Award for his contribution in the field of high performance communication from the Asia Pacific Brand Foundation (2010), and the global ecch Renewable and sustainable energy, technology and development Hot Topic Case Award (2011).



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Available for:

After Dinner Engagement
Organisation Development Programme

Watch George in action

1/4 videos
A hostage negotiator teaches leadership through bonding | George Kohlrieser | TEDxFultonStreet
A hostage negotiator teaches leadership through bonding | George Kohlrieser | TEDxFultonStreet
Actitudes Coaching - Interview with IMD Prof. George Kohlrieser on High Performance Leadership
Actitudes Coaching - Interview with IMD Prof. George Kohlrieser on High Performance Leadership
Best leadership program – Discover IMD’s High Performance Leadership with George Kohlrieser
Best leadership program – Discover IMD’s High Performance Leadership with George Kohlrieser
As We Speak: How to Make your Point and have it Stick

George is a world class master teacher and speaker. He has a rare ability to inspire and lead, bringing excitement, passion, wit, and humanity to any audience he addresses. He brings together the uncommon combination of a scholarly temperament and a vibrant imagination, with a commitment to excellence. There is real electricity around him.'

Peter James Meyers
President, Stand & Deliver Group and Author

'George Kohlrieser makes a deep and holistic impact on leaders and organisations. He always receives outstanding feedback; his authenthicity, knowledge, commitment, and powerful delivery will inspire even the most experienced and challenging group!'

Anna Storbacka-Eriksson
Managing Director

'George engages and communicates in a way that changes your personal beliefs and how you deal with other people, giving you renewed energy, passion, and positive thoughts about others. Listening to him speak leaves you with a clear vision that no personal challenge is insurmountable.'

Ris Kleist
European Professional Development Leader for Global Business Services
HSM Brazil

'George Kohlrieser is simply one of the best speakers worldwide on the topics of Leadership and Conflict Management. He consistently gets a standing ovation.'

Jose Salibi Neto
Co-Founder and Chief Knowledge Officer

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