Ralph Heck (born in Eupen, Belgium, in 1956) is Chairman of the Executive Board of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, a foundation dedicated to serving the common good in the spirit of its founder, Reinhard Mohn. Before assuming this position in August 2020, Heck supported the development of the foundation as a member of its Board of Trustees over a period of eight years. As Chairman of the Executive Board he represents the foundation both internally and externally and manages its operations. His responsibilities include overseeing the foundation’s work on the future of Europe and the shaping of sustainable social market economies.
Heck grew up in the German-speaking part of Belgium. After graduating high school, he studied industrial engineering and management at the University of Karlsruhe, where he subsequently completed his doctorate in economics on the effects of exchange rate movements on trade flows within the European Union. During his doctoral studies, Heck took on a role at the International Monetary Fund. In 1982, he embarked on a career spanning close to 34 years with the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he rose from Summer Associate to Partner and Senior Director and worked on almost all continents. Heck’s experience covers a number of business sectors, having been active in the automotive, commerce, media, telecom and energy industries, as well as working with NGOs. His responsibilities covered both strategy and organizational development as well as marketing and operations. During his time with McKinsey & Company, he took on multiple internal leadership roles, which included building new practices and serving on management committees.
Since retiring from his professional career at McKinsey & Company, Heck has served as a member of various supervisory boards. He is currently Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Formel D Group, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Klöckner & Co SE and an Advisory Board Member of the Würth Group. He is also an entrepreneur, managing his own corporate portfolio.
Heck has a keen interest in behavioral management and, more broadly, issues expected to impact society in the future. He is the founder of various initiatives, including the Business Leadership Forum Kitzbühel, which unites leading personalities to engage with important societal themes.
Born in 1964, Brigitte Mohn is the daughter of Bertelsmann Stiftung founders Liz Mohn and the late Reinhard Mohn (1921–2009). She studied political science, art history and German philology at the universities of Bamberg, Munster and Augsburg, earning a Master of Arts in 1991 and subsequently a doctorate. In 2001 she received an MBA from the Otto Beisheim School of Management in Koblenz and the Kellogg Institute in the United States.
Her career has included positions with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy; Bantam, Doubleday and Dell Publishing in New York; McKinsey in Hamburg; and Pixelpark in Switzerland.
Since 2001, she has served as chair of the German Stroke Foundation’s Executive Board. In 2002, she also became director of the Health program at the Bertelsmann Stiftung. She has been a member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board since January 1, 2005.
Daniela Schwarzer is a leading expert on European and international affairs and has had a 20-year career at renowned think tanks, foundations and universities.
Most recently, since 2021, she served as Executive Director for Europe and Central Asia at the Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest foundation working to strengthen the rule of law, democracy and open societies. In 2021, she was appointed honorary professor of political science at Freie Universität Berlin. In autumn 2022, she was a visiting professor at Harvard University, with which she remains affiliated as a senior fellow.
From 2016 to 2021, she was director and CEO of the German Council on Foreign Relations. (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, DGAP). Prior to that, she served as research director on the executive team of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and lead its Berlin office and Europe program. From 2004 to 2013, she worked for the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, where she headed the Europe research group beginning in 2008. From 1999 to 2004, she was an opinion page editor and France correspondent for the Financial Times Deutschland.
Daniela Schwarzer is regularly consulted as an expert and policy advisor. She is currently a member of the working group convened by the French and German governments on reforming the EU and, from 2020 to 2022, served as special advisor to the High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell. She also advised France and Poland during their respective EU presidencies and was a consultant to the French prime minister’s Centre dʼAnalyse Stratégique. She is a member of the supervisory boards of BNP Paribas and Covivio, an honorary board member of DGAP and a member of the advisory board of the Jacques Delors Institute, Paris, and a Council member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). In 2017, she was inducted into the French Legion of Honour.