The Witten Institute for Family Business was founded in 1998 with financial support from Deutsche Bank and was originally named ”Deutsche Bank Institute for Family Businesses”  (DIFU). It was the first research institute in Germany for family businesses.

The Institute and Deutsche Bank  collaborated for seven years, until in the summer of 2005 the sponsorship was passed over to a small circle of family ventures. With this change came a new name for the Institute: Witten Institute for Family Business (WIFU). The connection with our sponsor group enables and ensures close collaboration with the entrepreneurs of these supporting businesses.


Chair owners since foundation:

Business Administration and Family Entrepreneurship

  • Prof. Dr. Bernd Wirtz (1999-2004)
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Armbrüster (2005-2008)
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Dutzi (2009-2010)
  • Prof. Dr. Andrea Calabrò (2011-2017)

Leadership and Dynamics in Family Businesses

  • Prof. Dr. Fritz B. Simon (1999-2005, extrabudgetary professor since 2005)
  • Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wimmer (1999-2005, extrabudgetary professor since 2005)
  • Prof. Dr. Arist von Schlippe (since 2005)

Organisation and Development of Business Families

  • Prof. Dr. Heiko Kleve (since 2017)

Human Resource Management and Organisation, especially in Family Business

  • Prof. Dr. Marcel Hülsbeck (since 2013)

Business Law, Labour Law and Law of Family Businesses

  • Prof. Dr. Knut Werner Lange (1999-2007)
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Tiedtke (2008)
  • Prof. Dr. Brun-hagen Hennerkes (2008-2011)
  • Prof. Dr. Katharina Uffmann (2014-2016)
  • PD Dr. Christoph Schreiber (interim professor since 2017)



Our institute’s broschure gives you an insight into:

  • the structures and the employees of the WIFU
  • our unique sponsorship concept which is pooled in the WIFU-Foundation. Our “Sponsor´s Club”, which consists of over 65 family businesses is found here.
  • our past and current research projects
  • our publication record
  • statements from our national and international friends in the scientific and business community.

The WIFU broschure is available in our download section.