Mission of Günter Thiele Foundation
The Günter Thiele Foundation achieves its objectives by:
Management of the Foundation
Professor Werner Süss, deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees, is Honorary Professor for Corporate Communications at the University of Leipzig since October 2010. Previously, he supported the Institute as adjunct lecturer since 2002. From 2002 to 2012, he was Managing Director and later CEO of Vattenfall Europe Sales and Head of Business Unit Sales Vattenfall Central Europe. Today he is CEO of WindCapital Partners, Berlin.
Professor Günter Bentele, Dr. phil. habil. 1948, is an emeritus professor of Public Relations at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig. From 1989 to 1994 he was Professor of Communication Studies with a focus on journalism at the University of Bamberg. From 1994 until his retirement in the autumn of 2014 he held the first chair of Public Relations / PR in the German-speaking countries at the University of Leipzig.
Professor Thomas Lenk studied Industrial Engineering (focus on Mechanical Engineering) at the Technical University Darmstadt. He completed his PhD and Habilitation at the Technical University Darmstadt („Reformbedarf und Reformmöglichkeiten des bundesdeutschen Finanzausgleichs - Eine Simulationsstudie“) and afterwards he worked as an Assistant to Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Bert Rürup at the Institute for Finance at the Technical University Darmstadt. Since 1993 he is Professor of Public Finance at the Universität Leipzig and since 1994 Director of the Institute of Public Finance at the Universität Leipzig. From 2006 – 2010 Lenk was Director of the Center for International Economic Relations at the Universität Leipzig and since 2009 he is Director of the Institute of Public Finance and Public Management and of the Competence Centre for Public Economy and Services of General Interest. Besides since 2011 he is Vice-Rector for Development and Transfer.
Erich Steinsdörfer, lawyer, is the director and managing director of the Stifterverband subsidiary Deutsches Stiftungszentrum (German Foundation Centre). He completed his studies of law in Bonn and since 1986 he has been working for the Deutsches Stiftungszentrum (German Foundation Centre) – since January 2012 as chairman of the four-man management. His main areas of activity include the support of incorporated and non-incorporated foundations within Stifterverband administration. In this role, he is a member of the executive board of numerous founding bodies. He also accompanies and advises founders and foundations in all matters related to foundation law, foundation policy and tax law. He is the author of numerous technical papers, articles and various specialist books. In addition, he is a sought-after speaker on topics relevant to the foundation sector at many expert conferences. Between 1998 and 2011 he was also managing director of the Deutsche StiftungsAkademie (DSA), which was established in 1998 in a joint initiative of the Deutsches Stiftungszentrum (German Foundation Centre) and the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen (Federal Association of German Foundations).
Professor Ansgar Zerfaß is Professor and Chair in Strategic Communication at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He is also Professor in Communication and Leadership at BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, as well as, editor of the "International Journal of Strategic Communication", USA, and, inter alia, Plank Scholar at The Plank Center for Leadership and Communication at the University of Alabama, USA. He served as President of the European Public Relations Education and Research Association, Brussels. His research is focused on Corporate Communications, Measurement and Evaluation, Digital Communication and International/Comparative Communication. So far, he has published 34 books and more than 300 journal articles, book chapters and study reports in multiple languages. Current projects include, amongst others, the European Communication Monitor and Asia-Pacific Communication Monitor and "Value Creating Communication", the world's most extensive research program on corporate communications conducted by with several universities and global companies.
The foundation is named after Günter F. Thiele. He has played a significant role in shaping modern PR consultancy and has been actively involved in academic research in the fields of Public Relations and Communication Management for many years. Günter F. Thiele holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Leipzig and is an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Public Relations Agenturen e.V. (GPRA).
Thiele was born in 1934 and studied German Studies, Psychology and Philosophy at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. He started his career as a journalist at an east German radio station in Leipzig. After moving to Düsseldorf in West Germany he worked as an internal journalist in the employee communications department at Henkel and then as a copywriter at the advertising agency R. W. Eggert. In 1968 Thiele became the co-owner and managing director of the PR agency ABC Presse-Information. The agency went on to become the market leader for communication services in Germany.
At the end of the 1990s Thiele became interested in PR research – this was at a time when the discipline was only just starting to become established in German-speaking countries. He co-founded a foundation to support PR research at the University of Leipzig, which became today’s Günter Thiele Foundation. Together with other donors he has provided the foundation’s financial basis. The foundation is committed to the will of the founder and aims to continue his ideas.
The beginnings of the Günter Thiele Foundation
Günter F. Thiele and Professor Bernd Schuppener on the future of the foundation
What are the future plans for the Günter Thiele Foundation?
An interview with Günter F. Thiele
You worked for a communication agency for many years - why did you decide to start supporting PR research and teaching?
What can practice learn from research and what can research learn from practice?
Looking back, how has the profession changed?
What advice would you give to young communication professionals?
What is your vision for the future of the Günter Thiele Foundation?