Peer Witten: Paved the way for Internet commerce and modern logistics
Prof. Dr. Peer Witten ranks among the pioneers of modern logistics. He helped logistics reach numerous milestones. He initiated, promoted and even implemented advances and can rightly claim to have helped shape logistics significantly. As a pioneer of e-commerce in particular, he set logistics standards that have become the industry benchmark. Witten is regarded as a forward-thinker in sustainability and has played a pivotal role in the development of logistics in Germany by serving as Chairman of the German Logistics Association.
|Field||Distance selling, E-Commerce, CEP services, assocations|
|Current position||Chairman of Logistik-Initiative Hamburg e.V., Germany|
|Born||April 10, 1945 at Drangstedt near Bremerhaven, Germany|
|Induction into the Logistics Hall of Fame||2016, Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Berlin, Germany|
|Congratulary Speaker||Hans-Otto Schrader, CEO Otto Group, Hamburg, Germany|
- Prof. Dr. Peer Witten was born in 1945 and grew up in Bremen. After studying economics in Gottingen and Hamburg (doctorate), Witten joined Otto Versand in 1976. In 1984 he was made a board member, with responsibility for the corporate logistics of the world's largest mail order group. He has been a member of the Supervisory Board of the Otto Group since May 2005. Since 1990 Witten has held numerous positions at the German Logistics Association (BVL) and was its board chairman from 1999 to 2007.
- Peer Witten is one of the pioneers of modern logistics. He helped logistics reach numerous milestones. He initiated, promoted and even implemented advances and can rightly claim to have helped shape logistics significantly. He is regarded as a forward-thinker in sustainability and played a pivotal role in the development of logistics in Germany in his capacity as chairman of the German Logistics Association. He pressed ahead with the professionalisation of logistics as a management function and championed logistics. By setting an example, he greatly improved the public perception of logistics. As a pioneer of e-commerce in particular, he set logistics standards that have become the industry benchmark.
- Witten developed Hermes into a successful parcel distribution organisation and also a service organisation that hitherto did not exist in the market. Besides the extensive network of 14,000 Hermes parcel shops, a number of Internet commerce innovations now taken for granted came about thanks to Witten. Advances that set the pace in the market included delivery on all working days, from 48-hour to 24-hour service (1989), delivery of hanging clothing, small items of furniture and bicycles, door-to-door delivery of travel baggage (since 1997), holiday and evening service with delivery after 17:00 hrs or delivery in freely selectable time windows. The introduction of virtual information and service platforms, standards and environmental management systems in warehousing and new pricing models ("volume instead of weight") set standards that later became the benchmark for Internet commerce.
- During his time at Otto, Witten was also responsible for the creation and development of one of the world's most modern dispatch centres in Haldensleben near Magdeburg, where some mould-breaking innovations in intralogistics were implemented for the first time, such as multi-level sorters and fully automatic trayless high-bay warehouses.
- Witten is also regarded as a pioneer in sustainability. He was one of the first to embed sustainability as a corporate goal in the field of logistics and carried out numerous projects. Already from 1993, for example, electric vehicles were developed at Hermes in collaboration with Daimler and alternative drive systems like natural gas, fuel cells or hydrogen and even pedicabs were used for deliveries. Since 1994, this has resulted in the reduction of CO2 emissions per shipment by 40 percent in CEP deliveries.
- Together with Dr. Hanspeter Stabenau, Witten marked out the way forward for the development of logistics in Germany in his role as chairman of the German Logistics Association.
- In December 2005, the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg named Witten Chairman for the Hamburg Logistics Initiative, which is now one of the most successfull cluster Europe-wide.
- He is an honorary professor at Magdeburg’s Otto-von-Guericke University in the field of International Distribution Logistics.
- Peer Witten was awarded the Order of Merit (ribbon) in 2005.
Born at Drangstedt near Bremerhaven on April 10, 1945, grew up in Bremen.
1951 School and High School in Bremen
1964 Banking apprenticeship in Bremen
1966 Studied economics in Gottingen and Hamburg, MBA
1974 PhD equivalent
1976 Joined Otto Versand
1984 Member of the Group Executive Board of the Otto Group (corporate logistics and from 1999 in addition "travel and tourism")
1999 Additionally made responsible for "Leisure and Tourism" business line
1999 Chairman of German Logistics Association (BVL)
2005 Supervisory Board of the Otto Group and Otto AG for investments
2005 Awarded Order of Merit
from 2007 Honorable Chairman of the German Logistics Association (BVL)
2014 Honorary Consul of Montenegro
Peer Witten lives in Hamburg and has a large family with three adult children from his first marriage, two sons with his present wife and four grandchildren from the marriages.