Hans-Olaf Henkel was born in Hamburg on March 14, 1940. Upon completion of his studies at the University for Economics and Politics in Hamburg, he joined IBM Germany in 1962. After holding various executive positions in Germany, the U.S., Asia and France, he became President of IBM Germany in 1987, Vice-President of IBM in 1989 and Chief Executive Officer of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa in 1993. He was President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) from 1995 through 2000. Between 2001 and 2005 Mr. Henkel was President of the Leibniz- Association which comprises of 84 state-funded research institutions.
Today, he lectures as Professor of International Management at the University of Mannheim, is member of the Supervisory Boards of Altira/Frankfurt, Bayer/Leverkusen; Continental/Hanover; Daimler Aerospace/Munich and SMS/Duesseldorf. Together with the Ex-President of the Republic, Roman Herzog, he engages in the "Konvent fuer Deutschland" which aims at improving Germany’s political decision making system. He is an active member of Amnesty International.
Mr. Henkel received an Honorary Doctor’s degree from the Technical University of Dresden. The WWF named him "Environmental Manager of the Year", the magazine "Wirtschaftswoche" awarded him with the "Innovation Award of German Industry", and the periodical "Markt Intern" with the "Mittelstandspreis". As author of bestsellers and numerous publications he received the international writer’s award "Corine", the "Ludwig-Erhard-Preis-für Wirtschaftspublizistik", the "Hayek-Medal" and the "Cicero-Award" ("Best speaker of the business community"). To honour him as a President of the Leibniz-Association, a newly discovered butterfly species was named after him ("Bracca olafhenkeli"). For his regular Broadcasting on Berlin’s Jazz-Radio-Station he received the "New York Programming Award". He is Commander of the French Legion d’Honneur and received the Japanese Order of the Holy Treasure as well as Brazil’s Southern Cross.
Henkel is father of four children.