Professor Hans Georg Näder


Dedicated entrepreneur, visionary builder, passionate art collector, avid sportsman, socially responsible human being, cosmopolitan with local roots: the multifaceted personality of Professor Hans Georg Näder is reflected not only in his function as head of the Ottobock group, but also in his personal involvement in numerous cultural and social issues.

Ottobock is a privately held company which has only had three managing directors since its establishment in 1919: company founder Otto Bock, his son-in-law Dr Max Näder and his son Professor Hans Georg Näder. The history of the company is inextricably intertwined with the family history. As the Chairman of the Management Board of Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA, Professor Hans Georg Näder finds a common denominator between tradition and progress in an authentic and down-to-earth manner. He expressly adheres to fundamental values such as trust and reliability in dealing with customers and staff. At the same time he is a visionary in setting the course for the medium and the long term. Curiosity and playfulness are his driving forces.

As the grandson of the company founder, he took over the company at the tender age of 28 from his father, Dr Max Näder, the son-in-law of Otto Bock. The results are impressive: since then, he has increased the number of employees to over 8,000 and the group turnover is now over 1 billion euros.

Under his leadership the company gained a strong international orientation; by now he spends more than half the year on business trips. He calls Duderstadt, his birthplace and company headquarters, his home port. The city's biggest employer, he also privately supports the city's development as well as numerous church and community projects as the initiator of the Duderstadt 2020 master plan. He has been an honorary citizen of Duderstadt since September 2011.

Berlin, the city in which he opened the Ottobock Science Center in 2009, has become his home. Here as well he promotes art and culture and is particularly committed to the revitalisation of the former Bötzow brewery grounds, now owned by him.

Professor Hans Georg Näder views himself as the conductor of the company. Deploying the right staff at the right places and enabling life-long learning are his priorities. For this reason, he has declared human resources development to be a matter for management. Passing on business experience to the next generation has been one of the business studies graduate's activities since 2005, for example, in his capacity as honorary professor at PFH - Private University of Applied Sciences in Göttingen and since 2009 at Capital Medical University in Peking. He is a co-initiator of the orthobionics programme introduced at PFH in 2011 to offer a combination of medicine, orthopaedic technology and business studies to future managers. In 2013 took the Ottobock Campus training centre in Duderstadt on its operation, enabling the transfer of know-how in orthopaedic technology to young people from emerging market countries.

Prizes and awards

Ottobock has been among the top 100 German SMEs for years. This history of success is also expressed through the honours which Professor Hans Georg Näder has repeatedly received for his personal efforts. In 2003 he was awarded the title of Germany's Entrepreneur of the Year in the prestigious Industry category. In the same year he received the Georg Hohmann medal from the German Society of Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery. For his social entrepreneurship, the state of Lower Saxony presented him with its national award in 2005. In 2008 he received the B.A.U.M. environmental prize for the exemplary energy management of his company. This was followed in 2009 with the Manager of the Year award presented by Club der Gesundheitswirtschaft and in 2010 with his appointment as an honorary member of Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

In 2012 Professor Hans Georg Näder accepted the Leonardo da Vinci prize from Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr in Berlin as a tribute to the family-run enterprise for imparting cultural and social values and knowledge to succeeding generations. The FAUN award from auditing firm Ernst & Young and publishing company Deutsche Standards Editionen recognised Ottobock's innovative strength and ability to position new products successfully in the market. The news station n-tv awarded Ottobock the title of Hidden Champion 2012, an SME prize for companies that have made significant contributions to furthering the success of the German economy.

The entity made up of corporate actions and social responsibility was recognised in 2012 in Amsterdam with the CampdenFB European Families in Business Award and in Vienna with the Silver Medal from the Chamber of Commerce. Märchenland, the German Centre for Fairytale Culture, awarded Näder the Golden Pea in the ZDF studio in Berlin in recognition of his involvement in the Otto Bock Foundation, which runs, among other things, the charity project ‘Children in need – Help for Haiti’, and in the project 'Safe zones for children' in cooperation with the Peter Maffay Foundation.

Professor Hans Georg Näder received the honorary lifetime achievement award at the AOPA World Congress in Orlando/Florida. Tom Kirk, President of AOPA (American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association), recognised Näder’s outstanding commitment to progress in medical technology at the awards ceremony on Friday, 20 September 2013.

Social responsibility, arts and sports

As chairman of the board of the Otto Bock Foundation, Professor Hans Georg Näder expanded its targets in 2002 after the flood of the century on the Elbe to help people in disaster areas. Currently, among others, children and youths requiring medical technology assistance as a result of the earthquake in 2010 are being supported.

He promotes his home region on many levels, for example, as initiator and chairman of the council of the South Lower Saxony Foundation. To further the city's development, in the year 2009 he started the Duderstadt 2020 master plan project, which enjoys widespread public participation and is supported by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK) in the development of concrete prospects for sustainable living and working structures.

In 2012 he and his friend Peter Maffay inaugurated the Tabaluga House within the framework of the 'Safe zones for children' initiative in Duderstadt. Living and therapy rooms were set up in a half-timbered house from the Middle Ages for this. With their parents or caregivers, the children can gather strength for daily living through activities and experiences in nature and the community.

As a passionate art collector, Professor Näder opened the HGN art gallery in 2011 in Duderstadt in his private exhibition building. He draws on the creative minds of the city in the development of the former Bötzow brewery buildings which lay derelict for decades in Berlin. Here too art exhibitions are a permanent fixture in the concept which the Ottobock Futurelab merges with culture, living and, borrowing from New York's Chelsea Market, an underground shopping mall with culinary offerings: Bötzow Berlin.

Based on his longstanding commitment to equal opportunity in Paralympic sports, Hans Georg Näder assumed the position of chairman of the supervisory board of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in 2012. He participates in sporting events himself with his 46-metre-long sailing yacht Pink Gin with which he won the New Zealand Millennium Cup in 2007. In 2008 he set a new world record for crossing the English Channel with an amphibious vehicle in 74:30 minutes. Näder is an avid skier and swimmer.