Hermann Simon

Hermann Simon

Prof. Dr. Hermann Simon (born 10 February 1947) is an author and business leader. He is chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants. Simon is an expert in strategy, marketing and pricing. An ongoing online survey (in German language countries) voted him the most influential management thinker after the late Peter Drucker.

hort Biography

* 1947 Born in Hasborn/Eifel, Germany
* 1966 Gymnasium (high school) leaving certificate, Cusanus Gymnasium, Wittlich
* 1967-1969 German Air Force, fighter bomber squadron 33, reserve officer
* 1969-1973 Studied economics and business administration in Cologne and Bonn
* 1974-1979 Ph.D. and qualification as a university professor under Horst Albach in Bonn
* 1979-1989 Taught business administration and marketing at the University of Bielefeld
* 1989-1995 Taught business administration and marketing at the University of Mainz
* 1983-1989 Various guest professorships and visiting researcher positions: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978/79), Vienna Institute for Advanced Studies (1979), Keio University in Tokyo (1983), Stanford University (1984), INSEAD in Fontainebleau (1980-1985), Harvard Business School (1988/89), London Business School (1991-2002)
* 1985-1988 Research director of the “Universitätsseminar der Wirtschaft” (USW, now: European School of Management and Technology), Schloss Gracht/Cologne
* 1985 Founded the company Simon - Kucher & Partners Strategy & Marketing Consultants
* 1995-now Chairman of Simon - Kucher & Partners Strategy & Marketing Consultants

Management Consultant, Successful Author and Economics Professor

Hermann Simon’s career has followed three paths: as a management consultant, a successful author and an economics professor. He is the chairman of the international management consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants. For over 15 years he was a professor of business administration and marketing at the Universities of Bielefeld and Mainz. His books have been translated into 16 languages and have been highly acclaimed among managers. Professor Simon is internationally renowned as an expert in corporate strategy. An ongoing online survey votes him the most influential management thinker after the late Peter Drucker.

Management Consultant

Hermann Simon has been the chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners Strategy & Marketing Consultants since 1995. The company operates worldwide with offices in Amsterdam, Bonn, Boston, Cologne, Frankfurt, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Munich, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich. The consulting work focuses on strategy, marketing and pricing. The strategies developed by Simon-Kucher & Partners aim to enhance value via competitive advantages and customer value. Furthermore, “value extraction”, the derivation of the real market value, is given the utmost attention. Professor Simon supports his clients in the market launch, positioning and especially in price management. Simon-Kucher & Partners is the world market leader in this field. The magazine BusinessWeek described Simon-Kucher & Partners as a "world leader in giving advice to companies on how to price their products" (Jan. 18, 2004) and The Economist wrote: “Simon-Kucher is the world’s leading pricing consultancy” (2005). Professor Simon prefers using the word “hard”, i.e. number-based business analyses and highly developed methods. He has a wide range of clients in various sectors such as the automotive industry, banks/insurances, chemical industry, services, energy/supply, healthcare, media, commerce/consumer goods, high-tech industry, industrial goods, telecommunication, transport/logistics and tourism. The clients include large corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Bayer, Hewlett Packard, Deutsche Bank, TUI and Vodafone as well as the so-called “hidden champions”, i.e. medium-sized world market leaders such as Stihl, Würth, Heidelberger Druck and Trumpf. Professor Simon has gained experience in the area of corporate governance as a board member of numerous joint-stock companies as well as boards of trustees. These positions have also influenced his perception of the German corporate landscape. He acknowledges the expertise of German companies in technology and products, but asserts that they still show weaknesses in terms of marketing, customer orientation and service. Compared to companies in the USA, German companies perform poorly in terms of market capitalization. Consequently, Professor Simon sees a great danger of German companies being “colonized”.


Hermann Simon’s books have been highly acclaimed among managers and have already been translated into 16 languages. In 2006, Manage for Profit, Not for Market Share has been published. This provocative book takes a critical look at the widespread focus on volume and market share and calls for a conscious shift of focus towards profit. Simon’s most well-known publications include Think (2004), Power Pricing (1997), Hidden Champions (1996) and Preismanagement (1992). Some further successful publications include Das große Handbuch der Strategieinstrumente (2002), Das große Handbuch der Strategiekonzepte (2000) and Simon for Managers (2000). Professor Simon has coined a number of phrases which are now commonly used in management theory and practice. For example, the terms “price management”, “hidden champions”, “servicewüste” and “investor marketing” can be attributed to him. Since 1988 Simon has regularly written a column for the German monthly Manager Magazin. In addition, he was and still is a member of the editorial boards of numerous business journals, including the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Management Science, Recherche et Applications en Marketing, Décisions Marketing, European Management Journal as well as several German journals.

Economics Professor

Hermann Simon is also recognized as a successful professor of economics and has contributed pioneering work to the field of marketing. Until 1995 he was a professor of business administration and marketing at the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Simon’s academic career began very early: After completing his studies, he started his Ph.D. under the supervision of Horst Albach. Professor Albach significantly influenced his professional development, especially regarding the bridge between theory and practice. Between 1978 and 1980 Simon received a post-doctoral scholarship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) and was also a visiting fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during that time. Since then he has been a regular contributor to leading journals such as Management Science, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review and Journal of Marketing Research. His academic career placed him in numerous guest professorships at international universities: Simon was a visiting professor at the Vienna Institute for Advanced Studies in 1979, at the Keio University in Tokyo in 1983 and at Stanford University in 1984. He also taught at INSEAD in Fontainebleau (1980-1985), at Harvard Business School (1988-1989) and London Business School (1991-2002). Between 1984 and 1986 Professor Simon was the head of the European Marketing Academy (EMAC), and between 1985 and 1988 he was the research director of the “Universitätsseminar der Wirtschaft” (USW, now: European School of Management and Technology) at the Schloss Gracht in Cologne.

During his time as an economics professor, his research focused mainly on bridging the gap between theory and practice. His approach to research was therefore empirical and decision-oriented. Numerous theoretical concepts were practically applied in his pioneering projects (calculation of expected market reactions, non-linear pricing, product life cycles, bundling). Professor Simon prepared his students for daily work in the business world by providing them with the necessary methods and tools to successfully implement textbook concepts.

The decision to enter the professional business world in addition to his academic career was made during his time as the director at the USW, the biggest German institute for management training at that time. At the USW, Simon came into contact with many German top managers. Thus in 1985 he founded the management consultancy UNIC, which later became Simon - Kucher & Partners Strategy & Marketing Consultants, together with his former Ph.D. students. In 1995 Professor Simon left his university career behind him to dedicate himself full-time to the consulting business as the chairman of Simon - Kucher & Partners.


Professor Simon was greatly influenced by his long-standing friend Peter Drucker, with whom he corresponded for many years and whom he often visited at his home near Los Angeles. The last scheduled meeting tragically never took place. It was scheduled for November 12, 2005 ─ the day before Drucker passed away. In honor of Drucker, Simon has dedicated his latest book to him.

Professor Simon’s attitude towards the German government is mixed. Very politically active as a student, nowadays he is more critical of politicians. He believes they do not have the necessary competence, particularly concerning economic issues. Furthermore, he deplores the lack of communication between economists and politicians. Professor Simon maintains that the current political system has been holding back Germany’s business development for many years.

Literature (Selection)


* Simon, Hermann; Bilstein, Frank; Luby, Frank: Manage for Profit, not for Market Share. A Guide to Greater Profits in Highly Contested Markets, Harvard Business School Press, Boston 2006
* Simon, Hermann: Think - Strategische Unternehmensführung statt Kurzfrist-Denken, Campus, Frankfurt am Main/New York 2004
* Simon, Hermann: Strategie im Wettbewerb. 50 handfeste Aussagen zur wirksamen Unternehmensführung, FAZ-Buch, Frankfurt am Main 2003
* Simon, Hermann; von der Gathen, Andreas: Das große Handbuch der Strategieinstrumente, Campus, Frankfurt am Main/New York 2002
* Simon, Hermann, Das große Handbuch der Strategiekonzepte, Campus, Frankfurt am Main/New York 2000
* Simon, Hermann; Dolan, Robert J.: Power Pricing. How Managing Price Transforms the Bottom Line, The Free Press, New York 1996 (published in 14 languages)
* Simon, Hermann, Hidden Champions. Lessons from 500 of the world's best unknown companies, Harvard Business School Press, Boston 1996 (published in 15 languages)
* Simon, Hermann: Preismanagement. Analyse, Strategie, Umsetzung, 2nd edition, Gabler-Verlag, Wiesbaden 1992 (3rd edition to be published in 2007)
* Simon, Hermann: Simon für Manager, Econ Verlag, Düsseldorf 1991

International Articles

* Simon, Hermann: “Hysteresis in Marketing - A New Phenomenon?”, Sloan Management Review, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Spring/97), 39-49
* Simon, Hermann: “Pricing Opportunities and How to Exploit Them”, Sloan Management Review 33 (Winter 1992), 55-65
* Simon, Hermann: “Lessons from Germany's Midsize Giants”, Harvard Business Review 70 (March-April 1992), 115-123
* Simon, Hermann; Sebastian, Karl-Heinz: “Diffusion und Advertising: The German Telephone Campaign”, Management Science 33 (April 1987), 451-46
* Simon, Hermann: “PRICESTRAT. An Applied Strategic Pricing Model for Non-Durables”, TIMS-Studies in the Management Sciences 17 (1982)
* Simon, Hermann: “ADPULS. An Advertising Model with Wearout and Pulsation”, Journal of Marketing Research 19 (August 1982), 352-363
* Simon, Hermann; Bachem, A.: “Product Positioning Model with Costs and Prices”, European Journal of Operational Research 7 (1981), 362-370
* Simon, Hermann: “Dynamics of Price Elasticity and Brand Life Cycles: An Empirical Study”, Journal of Marketing Research 16 (November 1979), 439-452
* Simon, Hermann: “An Analytical Investigation of Kotler's Competitive Simulation Model”, Management Science 24 (October 1978), 1462-1473

External links

* http://www.simon-kucher.com

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