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WHO WE ARE

Founder

Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Hasso Plattner

THE VISIONARY

Hasso Plattner was born in Berlin in 1944. Having moved to the South of Germany briefly before high-school graduation, Hasso went on to study Communications Engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology graduating in 1968 with a degree in engineering.

That same year, he began working as a program developer at IBM Germany in Mannheim. In 1972, merely four years later, Hasso together with four former colleagues at IBM, founded SAP, an enterprise software company that was to become a global company group with more than 100,000 employees worldwide today.

The concept of a standard software that runs hardware independently developed by Hasso and his co-founders received overwhelming demand. When the company went public in 1988, Hasso was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and served as CEO from 1997 to 2003.

In 2003, Hasso retired from SAP’s day-to-day business and moved to the Supervisory Board as Chairman. As Chief Software Advisor, he still advises SAP on its medium- and long-term technological orientation and strategy. Hasso stands for a successful combination of business and science as well as for future-oriented research, innovative ability, and entrepreneurial spirit.

In 1998, he founded the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) at the University of Potsdam focusing on software systems engineering, which has the highest private financial expenditure ever donated to a German university. But Hasso did not stop at donating, he is also very actively involved in research and teaching as head of the department “Enterprise Platform and Integration Concepts”. In this capacity, he has facilitated many groundbreaking innovations. One of the most significant examples of Hasso’s involvement at the HPI is HPI’s research into in-memory data management. The project led to the creation of HANA, an SAP software corporation product. In 2012, this technology received both the German Innovation Award and the Berlin-Brandenburg Innovation Award.

In 2005, Hasso founded the HPI Research School, an interdisciplinary doctoral program that now also has branches at Cape Town University in South Africa, Technion in Israel, and Nanjing University in China. In 2007, Hasso expanded the HPI with the HPI School of Design Thinking. Senior students from all departments can learn here how to develop innovative products and services for all areas of life in multidisciplinary teams. In 2010, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University in California was founded to prepare a generation of innovators to tackle complex challenges.

In 2013, Hasso joined the Giving Pledge initiative by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet to donate a majority of his wealth for philanthropy and charity. After signing the Giving Pledge, he established the independent not for profit Hasso Plattner Foundation in 2015.

Hasso has a deep love for painting, collecting, and sharing art. He started collecting art around the IPO of SAP, a passion that has resulted in one of the most prestigious private art collections focused on impressionism, post-impressionism, expressionism, and modern art. In 2013, he founded the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, which he chose to be home to his impressionists. Combining his love for art and his tech expertise, he initiated and co-founded the renowned Wildenstein Plattner Institute in New York City which is dedicated to the study of art history and to fostering the accessibility, cataloging, and digitization of archival materials that support critical research in the field. Most recently, Hasso has been an invaluable supporter of the foundation’s acquisition of the former Café Minsk in Potsdam, an almost lost architectural and historic landmark of Potsdam. The foundation has pledged to turn the old landmark into a new and modern museum focusing on contemporary art and recreating a new, modernized landmark for Potsdam, making it yet another cultural highlight in this city.

In 2016, Hasso triggered HPI’s expansion into the digital health sector. Since then, the HPI established a Digital Health Center in Potsdam and a sister center at the Mount Sinai hospital in New York City. Combined with a new health data platform and research initiative (Data4Life), the aim is to help to digitize research, treatments, and health care systems.

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RECOGNITION

Hasso holds many academic honors. He is an honorary doctorate at the KIT, the University of Mannheim, the University of Potsdam, and the University of Saarland. He is also honorary professor at the University of Potsdam as well as the University of Saarland where he also holds the title of honorary senator.

During his career, Hasso has also received many honors for his entrepreneurial spirit, his technology expertise as well as his commitment in business, research and science. To name only a few, Hasso received

  • the Werner-von-Siemens-Ring in honor of his life achievement as engineers. “As the founder of SAP, Hasso had a decisive influence on Germany as a business location and repeatedly built bridges with a wealth of ideas – between science and research, industry and politics.”;
  • the Leibniz Medal for his “equally unusual and exemplary commitment”;
  • the “Information Technology Leadership Award for Global Integration” as part of the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards program in recognition of being the main architect of SAP’s R/3 system;
  • The Order of Merit of the State of Brandenburg;
  • the Leonardo European Corporate Learning Award in the category “Thought Leadership”;
  • the GABA Lifetime Achievement Award;
  • the Prize for Understanding and Tolerance for his foundation activities to promote science and for his “entrepreneurial innovation”, as well as for “social and cultural projects” initiated by him by the Jewish Museum Berlin and
  • honorary citizenship of Potsdam, state capital of Brandenburg.