KLU Bids Farewell to President Prof. Dr. Strothotte

Thomas Strothotte in Hamburg's HafenCity.

After close to a decade, Prof. Dr. Thomas Strothotte’s time as President and Managing Director of KLU has come to an end. As the year 2022 winds down, he has transitioned into a sabbatical. KLU would like to take the opportunity to thank Prof. Strothotte for his service to KLU and look back on some of the important milestones achieved during his presidency. Until a successor is found, the current Dean of Programs, Prof. Dr. Christian Barrot, has stepped in as Acting President.

Prof. Strothotte joined KLU on August 1, 2013, just days before KLU moved into its modern campus in Hamburg’s HafenCity with a handful of professors and staff, along with a couple of dozen students. He kicked off his presidency when KLU celebrated the opening of its new premises in Großer Grasbrook with its auditorium (dubbed “Golden Egg” which has since achieved iconic status in Hamburg). The celebrations were joined by KLU’s founder Klaus-Michael Kühne and the First Mayor of the City of Hamburg at the time, Olaf Scholz. The new campus was the first of KLU’s many milestones celebrated during the presidency of Prof. Strothotte. Today KLU is thriving with close to 30 faculty members and several hundred students.

As KLU president, in 2015 he succeeded in acquiring KLU’s first institutional accreditation from the Wissenschaftsrat (German Science Council) and the permanent recognition by the State of Hamburg. This was complimented in 2017 by the award of the right to confer doctoral degrees by the State of Hamburg on the recommendation of the Wissenschaftsrat. Still today, KLU remains one of the very few private universities in Germany permitted to award their own doctoral degrees. In 2018, KLU started its first international accreditation process (AACSB). Most recently in 2022, the KLU Master in Global Logistics & Supply Chain Management and in International Management received, once again, the premium seal of the accreditation agency FIBAA.

Under his leadership, KLU developed its impact through significant partnerships building on its own excellence in research and teaching. One example is KLU’s three research centers, the first funded in 2018, each operating together or funded by an external partner. This includes the Center for Shipping and Global Logistics (CSGL), funded by Hapag-Lloyd, the Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains (CSLS), funded by Kühne + Nagel, and the Center for Humanitarian Logistics and Regional Development (CHORD), a joint center with HELP Logistics. Internationally, he fostered significant ties to Tongji University (Shanghai), the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (with the TriCon Program), and the University of Bogota (Columbia).

Prof. Strothotte emphasized the importance of high caliber research leading to publications in the best journals of the fields in which KLU is active as a logistics university.

Prof. Strothotte developed the university’s third-party funding footprint and provided a framework to grow to the point where in 2022 the university has seen considerable revenues available for research from external sources, including the seed funding of its Centers.

During his two terms in office, he ensured digitalization is integrated into KLU's core competence in logistics by establishing several professorships related to computer science which today form the backbone of KLU’s research and teaching in digitization. During the last two years with the Coronavirus pandemic, he put special effort into keeping the KLU community - or our “KLU Family”, a term he coined - together in the online-only environment.

Throughout his time as president, he regularly met with representatives of the student body to exchange ideas and solicit their feedback. This focus on students led to KLU receiving the first place worldwide in the 2021 Study Portal prize for Overall Student Satisfaction, which is just one of various high rankings KLU has achieved in teaching. In 2022, in order to thank KLU’s students for their commitment and highlight their countless volunteer projects, he initiated and awarded for the first time the “President’s Medal for Citizenship” endowed with 1,000 Euros.

KLU would like to thank Prof. Strothotte for his tireless work to help KLU achieve excellence in research and teaching and ensure the ongoing development of KLU. A search committee has been established to find a suitable successor.