Commencing on September 01, 2010, the Otto Group Hamburg established a Foundation Chair for Distance Trade and Service Marketing. In the presence of the Federal Minister of Research, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, Alexander Birken, member of the board of the Otto Group and OTTO-Chair Human Resources and Controlling, as well as Prof. Dr. Stephan A. Jansen, president of ZU, signed the respective cooperation agreement.
The „Otto-Foundation Chair for Distance Trade & Service Marketing “ is integrated into the department of business studies. The main aim of the foundation chair is the research, as well as the training, of bachelor and master graduates and postgraduates in the area of distance trade.
The agreement between the trade and service company Otto Group and ZU comprises the establishment of a foundation chair in the department of business studies, currently for a period of five years.
The „Otto -Foundation Chair for Distance Trade & Service Marketing“ focuses on the academic research and teaching, especially the practice-oriented training in the area of distance trade. In addition to providing financial support, the Otto Group will also play an active role in developing the content within the framework of an advisory board for the chair – e.g. by lectures on practice and projects. In close cooperation with the other scholars of ZU the new chair is to work especially in three areas of research:
• researching the use of new technologies, e.g. in the areas of mobile commerce, TV-home-shopping and interactive TV
• systematic and comparative research of success factors in distance trade
• research of the systematic integration of various forms of distance trade
"The effective bridging between science and business is even more important in times of crisis. The Federal Ministry of Research has consistently pushed this bridging in recent years, among others with its high-tech- strategy", Federal Minister Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan explains on the occasion of the new cooperation of the Otto Group and ZU. "Thus I am delighted that with the 'Otto-Foundation Chair for Distance Trade & Service Marketing' at ZU the academic focus is more directed towards the needs of businesses in the area of services. This sets an example. I hope that business and science will follow this example further and give high significance to service sciences."
"The 'Otto-Foundation Chair for Distance Trade & Service Marketing', that will especially highlight the area of marketing in distance trade, fits very well into the Otto Group’s concept of university cooperations. Up to now we have been supporting master programs by funding chairs in the areas of business administration and purchasing. With this triad of marketing, business administration and purchasing we have laid a solid foundation of academic education for the sector of distance trade". Thus Alexander Birken explains the necessity for the renewed university commitment of the Otto Group.
Prof. Dr. Stephan A. Jansen, president of Zeppelin University, sees the new cooperation as a milestone in the research of trade and services. "Research and teaching in business administration and computer science mostly still reminds one of the industrial age. The research on service management in general and on trade in particular is too weak when seen in an international comparison. Here, Zeppelin University wants to make a contribution. On behalf of research but also of the students we are very grateful to the Otto Group, Hamburg, the co-financing Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany and the Federal Minister of Research – as initiator of the research union."
In the context of the master programs both practical semesters in companies of the Otto Group and international internships are planned. Additionally, the Otto Group intends to consider successful graduates specifically in their recruitment measures. Top executives of the Otto Group will also give guest talks and seminars at ZU – e.g. marketing expert Dr. Bernd Vogt. He has been a self-employed International Direct Marketing Consultant since 2006, and he previously worked in the areas of marketing, communication and group development of the Otto Group for more than 28 years. "We would like to thank Dr. Vogt especially. He has played a major role in bringing about this cooperation between the Otto Group and Zeppelin University", Alexander Birken stressed in a talk at the occasion of the signing of the agreement.