Hans-Olaf Henkel: Biography highlights
He was formerly a manager at IBM, president of the Federation of German Industries and president of the Leibniz Association. After decades as a political observer, he was elected to the European Parliament in 2014 for the AfD. In response to the election of Frauke Petry as the new federal chairman in July 2015, he resigned from the AfD. He is now an independent member of the European Conservatives and Reformists.
Full biography of Hans-Olaf Henkel
Hans-Olaf Henkel’s Background
After an apprenticeship at the international logistics company Kuehne & Nagel he completed his studies at the University for Economics and Politics in Hamburg. In 1962 he joined IBM Germany. After holding various executive positions in Germany, the U.S., Asia and France, he became President of IBM Germany in 1987, Vice-President of the Corporation in 1989 and President of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa in 1993.
From 1995 through 2000 he was President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), roughly the equivalent of the British CBI. Between 2001 and 2005 Mr. Henkel was President of the Leibniz-Association which comprises of 89 state-funded research institutions. From 2001 through 2012 he lectured as Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Mannheim.
He was member of various company boards such as Audi/Ingolstadt, Bayer/Leverkusen, Continental/Hannover, Orange/Paris, Brambles/Sydney, Daimler Aerospace /Munich, SMS/Duesseldorf.
From 2014 through 2019 he was a member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists), Vice-Chair of the Committee of Industry, Energy and Research and member of the Human Rights Committee.
He is a long time member of Amnesty International. Amongst the awards he received throughout his career was the Cicero-Award“ (best speaker in the German business community).
Watch Hans-Olaf in action
Hans-Olaf's speaking topics
In this talk, Henkel describes the short, medium and long-term effects of the Corona crisis. He covers not only economical aspects but also sociological and political ones. Will the recovery take the shape of a 'V', a 'U' or many 'W's'? Will globalization, free trade survive? What happens to the Billions of Euros, Dollars and Pounds of debt accumulated by the Central Banks?
A New Deal for Britain
From the perspective of a global business person as well with the experience as a previous member of the European Parliament from 2014 through 2019, Henkel describes the reasons which lead to the British referendum in the first place and its final outcome. For him, Brexit is a lose-lose-situation for both, Britain, and the EU. He explains why Brexit was not only caused by London but also by Brussels. He describes the economic, political and strategic consequences of Brexit not only for the British but also for the Continental business community. He provides ample advice to politicians and business executives how to deal with the current situation.
The Global Triangle
Having spent most of his professional business life outside Germany, the German Ex-President of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa deals in his speech with the effects of globalization. Since globalization is under increasing criticism by politicians from the far Left, the far Right and the Greens as well as by U.S. President Donald Trump, the acceptance of world trade, international rules and regulations is under pressure. Henkel provides not only economical but also political, moral and philosophical arguments against this growing trend. For him, globalization is more than just the exchange of goods, services and financial funds.
The United States of Europe or A Europe of Sovereign Nations?
In this speech, Henkel compares two different models for the future of Europe. Based on his experience as President of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa, as Vice-President of the IBM Corporation, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) - roughly the equivalent of the British CBI - as well as a Member of the European Parliament from 2014 through 2019, Henkel weighs the pros and cons of centralization vs. subsidiarity, harmonization vs. Competition, socialization vs. self-responsibility. He reflects the results of the recent European elections as well as the current political trends in Britain and in other European countries.