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August Oetker celebrates 80th birthday

On March 17, Dr. h. c. August Oetker, former Chairman of the Advisory Board and shareholder of Dr. August Oetker KG, will celebrate his 80th birthday. As a General Partner, he led the Oetker Group with his colleagues on the Group Management Board for over 30 years – from 1981 to the end of 2009 – and also served as Chairman of the Management Board of Dr. Oetker GmbH.

August Oetker is a fourth-generation entrepreneur at the Oetker Group. While at the helm of the company, he successfully structured the food business and its concentration on core product ranges. He also expanded its international reach, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe after the opening of the Iron Curtain.

After leaving school in 1963, August Oetker completed an apprenticeship as a shipping agent in Hamburg. In 1966, he began studying business administration in Hamburg and Münster, graduating in 1972 with a degree in business administration. In the same year, he took on tasks in the Oetker Group, but, in 1975 he decided to work temporarily outside the Oetker Group in London and New York. In 1979, August Oetker returned to Germany and became managing partner of Dibona Markenvertrieb KG in Ettlingen, a company of the Oetker Group.

In 1981, at the age of 37, he became a General Partner of Dr. August Oetker KG, the holding company of the Oetker Group. From 1989, August Oetker was particularly involved in the food business in Germany and since 1996, as Chairman of the Management Board of Dr. Oetker International GmbH for the entire branded goods business with foodstuffs. Within a decade – from 1991 to 2003 – Dr. Oetker became a European market leader for baking products, baking mixes, dessert products and pizza under his leadership. Dr. Oetker now has over 40 national companies worldwide.

In 2010, August Oetker took on the role of Chairman of the Advisory Board of Dr. August Oetker KG. To respect the wishes of his father, Rudolf-August Oetker, he exercised this function beyond the usual limit of 70 years of age, until his 75th birthday and handed over the chairmanship of the Advisory Board at the end of March 2019.

In 1995, Capital magazine and the environmental foundation WWF honored August Oetker as Eco-Manager of the Year. In 2000, the University of Witten/Herdecke awarded him an honorary doctorate for his commitment to education. In 2014, the food newspaper Lebensmittel Zeitung honored him with the ‘Goldener Zuckerhut’ for his exemplary achievements in the food industry.

In 2019, August Oetker was awarded the Order of Merit of the State of Saxony-Anhalt for his outstanding social commitment and special services to the cultural heritage of Saxony-Anhalt. In January 2023, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded him the Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of his decades of commitment in the professional, cultural and social fields.

One issue that has always been particularly close to August Oetker’s heart and that he anchored in the company years ago is sustainability. He comments: “It is particularly important to me to encourage people to act sustainably.” He is an active member of the think tank Council for Digital Ecology, which has set itself the task of freeing the digital transformation of society from the limitations of a purely economic and technology-driven view, initiating debates and making the digital transformation a central socio-political issue.


Photo: © Dr. August Oetker KG / Photographer: Nina-Maria Oetker