New leadership trio at Fraunhofer IAO

Institutsleitung des Fraunhofer IAO


Professor Dieter Spath returns to the institute in Stuttgart on October 1

After three years as CEO of WITTENSTEIN AG, Prof. Dieter Spath, a former long-serving director of Fraunhofer IAO, is returning to Stuttgart. From October 1, he will join Prof. Wilhelm Bauer (executive director) and Prof. Anette Weisbacker (deputy director) in forming a new management team. This means Spath will also be returning to his director’s post at the IAT, the University of Stuttgart institute with which Fraunhofer IAO cooperates.

For Prof. Dieter Spath, his return to Stuttgart after three years leading WITTENSTEIN AG feels like coming home. “I’m very much looking forward to tackling new research topics and seeing familiar faces again at my old workplace,” Spath enthuses. He is particularly keen to ensure that his collaboration with Professors Bauer and Weisbecker, with whom he will jointly manage Fraunhofer IAO from October 1, is built on trust.

In addition to resuming the position of director of Fraunhofer IAO’s cooperation partner, the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) at the University of Stuttgart, Spath will take on another major responsibility from February 8, 2017: he will serve alongside Prof. Henning Kagermann as co-president of acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering. In response, the leadership trio at Fraunhofer IAO have worked to clearly define their roles and responsibilities in advance. “Wilhelm Bauer has kept the institute on a path of constant growth in the last few years and promoted many topics in the ‘Work 4.0’ research field. As the acting institute director, he will continue to guide the future of the institute,” Spath clarifies. Prof. Bauer is also looking forward to the renewed collaboration with his new and former colleague. “We’re a well-established team, and have kept in close contact over the last three years. We share the same mindset and will continue on the path that has been marked out.”

Research focused on digitalization strategies for companies

Digital transformation is a hot topic on the institute’s research agenda now as before, and it is one to which Spath can bring fresh perspectives from practical experience, having worked intensively in the area during his time at WITTENSTEIN. “Digitalization offers opportunities on many different levels. We are helping companies develop the digitalization strategy that is right for them, while always keeping the focus on people,” explains Prof. Anette Weisbecker, who as deputy institute director is managing the Information and Communication Technology business unit.

Celebrating anniversaries at the 2017 Future Forum, February 23-24

Spath’s return coincides with a double anniversary year in which the IAT celebrates 25 years and Fraunhofer IAO 35 years of existence. To honor these two important anniversaries along with a third – Prof. Bauer’s 60th birthday – the institute is hosting the 2017 Future Forum, a two-day event that will demonstrate how disruptive business models, collaborative and agile work arrangements, and smart technology are allowing companies to shape the future of business and work and achieve business success. “We invite everyone who would like to play an active part in this process to join us as we consider every aspect of shaping how we work and how we structure organizations in the future,” says Bauer. His “Office 21” joint project, which highlighted the future of knowledge and office work as an area of research, will turn 20 this year – yet another anniversary, and an opportunity to reflect on the current state of research in the field and generate new ideas for shaping the future.