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The SIGNA Group

At a glance

SIGNA is a completely privately managed and entrepreneurially active industrial group in the areas of retail and real estate. With long-term leased real estate assets of more than EUR 7.5 billion, a pipeline of EUR 5 billion in real estate developments and revenues of about EUR 3.8 billion from its retail companies, SIGNA has grown to become one of Europe’s leading companies in these business areas since it was set up 17 years ago. The Group comprises two core businesses: SIGNA Real Estate and SIGNA Retail.

SIGNA Real Estate employs approximately 200 people in nine offices in Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. The property portfolio is valued at about EUR 7.5 billion, and the development volume amounts to EUR 5 billion. SIGNA Real Estate is organised in four independent divisions:

SIGNA Prime Selection owns a long-term portfolio of selected assets in prime locations in Austria, Germany and Italy. The majority of these exceptional properties will remain in the hands of SIGNA Prime Selection and are not for sale. Besides, SIGNA Prime Selection continually complements its stock of exclusive real estate investments by acquiring and developing additional projects in outstanding locations with a potential for significant increases in value.

SIGNA Development Selection invests and acquires stakes in typical real estate developments in major urban centres, primarily in the German-speaking countries. These projects include office blocks and towers, large residential developments, shopping centres and hotels. The company pursues a buy-develop-sell strategy.

SIGNA Funds manages several closed-end real estate funds that promise stable returns and a long-term increase in value for private investors. In addition, SIGNA Funds pursues opportunistic real estate investments, such as managing private equity investments on behalf of institutional investors and high-net-worth family offices. New projects such as daycare facilities for children & student residences and city apartments extend the company’s portfolio.

SIGNA Luxury Hotels sets highest standards in the conception, the development and the marketing of unique destinations in the most beautiful Central European places and owns and operates impressive luxury hotels and resorts, such as Chalet N in Lech am Arlberg, the luxury hotel Park Hyatt Vienna, as well as the luxury resort Villa Eden Gardone at Lake Garda which was designed by international star architects and includes a 5-star Boutique Hotel.

Established under the overall corporate umbrella of SIGNA Retail are a number of commercial concerns, operating next to one another but independently. More than 20,000 people working in over 125 locations generate annual revenues of about EUR 3.8 billion.

Part of SIGNA Premium Group is The KaDeWe Group as the No. 1 premium and luxury department store group in Germany and Europe in the brick-and-mortar market. The KaDeWe Group operates the 3 luxury stores KaDeWe in Berlin, Oberpollinger in Munich and Alsterhaus in Hamburg. Through the takeover of MYBESTBRANDS, Germany’s largest fashion mall for premium and luxury fashion on the Internet, in mid of June 2017, this position has also been strengthened in the digital sector. Together with the Italian Partner LaRinascente, The KaDeWe Group aims to enlarge its store portfolio through acquiring further leading local premium department stores in Europe and by opening new stores in main European capitals.

SIGNA Sports Group is clearly number 1 in Germany and ranks among the top 4 in the multi-channel sports sector in Europe. The group owns Karstadt Sports, the No. 2 store-based multi-category sports specialist in Germany. Furthermore, the group holds majority interests in online pure-plays internetstores (No. 1 in bike and outdoor), Tennis-Point (No. 1 in tennis), and OUTFITTER (No. 2 in football, running and team sports) and entered into a partnership with Probikeshop, the leading online bike retailer in Southern Europe and France in spring 2017.

With over 135 years of tradition in the German retail market, the successful restructured Karstadt Warenhaus is one of the leading department stores in the country. SIGNA Department Store Group operates 79 stores in triple-A locations, sells more than 1,200 brands and generates over EUR 2 billion in annual revenues. Together with karstadt.de, dress-for-less, hood.de and further add-on acquisitions and partnerships, the group aims to become a modern “Marketplace of Tomorrow”, combining best-in-class offline and online shopping experiences.

SIGNA Food & Restaurants Group is one of the largest quick-service platforms in the German market, with Le Buffet as central core and the JV with EATALY as one of the most exciting food retail concepts worldwide in its portfolio. The group positions itself as an innovative service platform for future growth in the European food service market. Based on excellent operations know-how, the group will grow through acquisitions and master franchises/JVs with innovative quick-service concepts.

SignaGroup Executive Board

The Group Executive Board was set up in 2013, so as to keep pace with the rapid growth and diversity of the SIGNA Group. The Chairman of the SIGNA Group Executive Board, Dieter Berninghaus, as well as four Board members with long years of experience of individual business sectors offer advice and support especially regarding the strategic development of the Group across all sectors of the company. The responsibility for the development and implementation of strategy and operative business lies with the Board members and the managing directors of the individual sectors and Group companies.

Dr. Dieter Berninghaus

Dr. Dieter Berninghaus

Dr. Dieter Berninghaus, born in 1965, assumed the functions of Chairman of the Executive Board at SIGNA Group and Chairman of SIGNA Retail on September 1, 2016. Previously, from the beginning of 2008 to August 2016, Mr. Berninghaus was member of the General Management and CEO at the Swiss Migros Group, being responsible for the entire retail business. Moreover, in his position as member and chairman of the board of directors Mr. Berninghaus managed 15 companies of the Swiss retail giant. Prior to this he was member and afterwards chairman of the board of directors at Denner AG/Rast Holding AG (2004-2008). Previously, Mr. Berninghaus held the positions of CEO as well as of spokesperson of the board of directors at REWE Group (1999-2004). At the Metro AG (1991-1999) – in his last position as director – Mr. Berninghaus headed the business division internationalization and strategic corporate development.

Christoph Stadlhuber

Christoph Stadlhuber

Christoph Stadlhuber, born in 1967, has been CEO of SIGNA Prime Selection AG since 2011. As Managing Director of the Austrian Federal Real Estate Corporation (Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft) from 2003 until 2011 he has accumulated more than nine years of decisive real estate experience. Prior to this he directed the office of the Austrian Economy and Labour Minister. He has been chairman of the SIGNA Executive Board since 2013.

Wolfram Keil

Wolfram Keil

Wolfram Keil, born in 1967, has been Managing Director of SIGNA Retail GmbH since 2014 and was previously CFO of the SIGNA Recap Funds. He previously worked for Cerberus Germany and Terra Firma Capital Partners in London, where he gained comprehensive experience in private equity and the real estate business. Wolfram Keil began his professional career in finance at Procter & Gamble. In 2013, he joined the SIGNA Executive Board as Group CFO.

Frank Tölle

Frank Tölle

Frank Tölle, born in 1963, has been CEO of SIGNA Funds since 2005. Before this, he was a member of the directorate of IDEENKAPITAL Financial Service AG, a subsidiary of ERGO Insurance Group, where he was primarily responsible for the conception of closed-end investment fund products. In 2013, he joined the SIGNA Executive Board.

Jürgen Fenk

Jürgen Fenk

Born in 1966, Jürgen Fenk became CEO of SIGNA Holding and joined the SIGNA Group Executive Board on 1 October 2017. He was previously a member of the management board of Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (helaba), where he was responsible for real estate, debt capital markets and financial institutions. Mr Fenk has extensive experience of the banking, capital market and property sectors. In his new position he will primarily focus on banking, capital markets and capital sourcing for the Group. He will also be responsible for establishing the SIGNA Group’s new proptech, debt fund and insurance business units.

Signa GroupAdvisory Board

This strategic board of senior advisors from the worlds of business and politics was among the key drivers of success of the dynamic company. The advisory board is not a statutory body in the conventional sense but a committee entrusted with pushing forward the company’s strategy and development as well as its new business activities. The board was first introduced in 2005 and comprised Karl Samstag, Rainer de Backere and Peter Hasskamp.

In the meantime, the committee has widened from three to twelve personalities, including the three original founding members, the board’s chairman René Benko and Alfred Gusenbauer, Roland Berger, Walid Chammah, Günter Koller, Eduardo Leemann, Susanne Riess, Karl Stoss and Ernst Tanner.

What they all have in common is their high commitment to the SIGNA and the company’s founder as well as their long-term specific experience and expertise in their individual fields of action.

René Benko

René Benko

René Benko, born in 1977, is the founder of SIGNA and chairman of the SIGNA Holding GmbH Advisory Board. Since SIGNA’s establishment in 2000, almost EUR 10 billion have been successfully invested in core +, value add and opportunistic real estate projects. In addition, a group of retailers with annual revenues of over EUR 3 billion was established.

Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer

Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer

Alfred Gusenbauer is a former Austrian Federal Chancellor. After leaving politics, he took up a number of supervisory board positions, including at Austria’s largest construction company Strabag, and Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ), a German daily newspaper.  He has been a visiting professor at Harvard University since 2009. Mr Gusenbauer is an expert in foreign, security and economic policy, and has numerous Austrian and foreign accolades to his name.

Ernst Tanner

Ernst Tanner

Ernst Tanner, born in 1946 in Schaffhausen/Switzerland, is CEO and President of Lindt & Sprüngli. He has been head of the Swiss chocolate producing enterprise for 23 years and has turned the takeover candidate into a flourishing global company.  This is how he succeeded in substantially raising the annual turnover and in increasing stock market value of Lindth & Sprüngli twenty-fold. Before that, Ernst Tanner has worked for the American consumer goods producer Johnson & Johnson for more than 20 years; in his last position he was head of European operations. Additionally, Ernst Tanner is member of the Board of Directors of the Swatch Group as well as of the German Brewery Krombacher. Moreover, Ernst Tanner has been member of the Board of Directors and of the Advisory Board of Credit Suisse for more than 15 years.

Eduardo Leemann

Eduardo Leemann

Eduardo Leemann joined Zurich-based Falcon Private Bank in 1997 where he has been CEO and Managing Board Chairman for almost 20 years until 2016. Previously, Mr. Leemann was a member of the Managing Board and Head of Private Banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co Bank, and was also in charge of Julius Baer’s worldwide private banking business.

Walid A. Chammah

Walid A. Chammah

Walid A. Chammah, born 1954 in Beirut/Libanon, is a former Morgan Stanley executive. He was Chairman of Morgan Stanley International and served as a member of the Morgan Stanley Management and Operating Committees. Between September 2007 and December 2009, Chammah was Co-President of Morgan Stanley, overseeing the Firm’s Institutional Securities business and operations. He is based in London. After his retirement in January 2012, Walid Chammah became senior advisor to several companies.

Prof. Dr. h.c. Roland Berger

Prof. Dr. h.c. Roland Berger

Roland Berger is regarded as Grand Seigneur of the international consulting sector. In 1967 he founded Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, the leading global advisory firm headquartered in Europe, of which he is honorary chairman. In addition, he is member of several supervisory and advisory boards. His Roland Berger foundation annually awards the Roland Berger trophy on human dignity and assists talented children from socially disadvantaged families to enter higher education.

Günter Koller

Günter Koller

Günter Koller was born in 1965 in Munich. He began his career as lawyer at the commercial law firm BEITEN BURKHARDT MITTEL & Wegner specializing in real estate and banking law. In 1997, together with colleagues, he founded GSK, a law firm specialized in real estate, bank and financial law. In mid-2001 he left the company and became CEO of the Wilhelm von Finck Hauptverwaltung GmbH in Munich. The Family Office advises Mr Wilhelm von Finck and two other wealthy clients in all wealth-related matters with the exception of financial services. Günter Koller is Vice-Chairman of the Quantum Immobilien AG in Hamburg and of the Isarklinik AG in Munich. He is Member of the Advisory Board of Accumulata AG, of GIEAG and of Hammer AG, all based in Munich as well as of the 6B47 Real Estate Investors AG in Vienna. Moreover, is Member of the Advisory Board of Paramount REIT PGRE in New York.

Dr. Susanne Riess

Dr. Susanne Riess

Susanne Riess’s extensive political experience saw her named Austrian Vice-Chancellor in 2000. After leaving politics, she became chairwoman of the board of Austrian home loan savings and insurance group Wüstenrot in 2004. She also sits on a number of supervisory boards, including at Switzerland’s IHAG Privatbank.

Karl Samstag

Karl Samstag

Karl Stoss has a degree in business administration. Early in his career he was a partner at management solutions company Management Zentrum St. Gallen and a lecturer at the University of Innsbruck. In 1997 he became deputy chairman of the executive board of Österreichische Postsparkasse AG before joining the Raiffeisen Zentralbank AG executive board in 2001. He was appointed CEO of Generali Versicherung AG in 2005. Karl Stoss has been CEO of Casinos Austria AG since 2007 and was elected president of the Austrian Olympic Committee in 2009.

Dr. Karl Stoss

Dr. Karl Stoss

Karl Stoss has a degree in business administration. Early in his career he was a partner at management solutions company Management Zentrum St. Gallen and a lecturer at the University of Innsbruck. In 1997 he became deputy chairman of the executive board of Österreichische Postsparkasse AG before joining the Raiffeisen Zentralbank AG executive board in 2001. He was appointed CEO of Generali Versicherung AG in 2005. Karl Stoss has been CEO of Casinos Austria AG since 2007 and was elected president of the Austrian Olympic Committee in 2009.

Dr. Peter Hasskamp

Dr. Peter Hasskamp

Since stepping down as CEO and Chairman of Bremer Landesbank in 2004 after 16 years in the job, Peter Hasskamp has held a wide range of supervisory board and consulting positions, including at Bremer Landesbank Stiftung, a foundation, and EGC Eurogroup Unternehmensberatung AG in Frankfurt.

Rainer de Backere

Rainer de Backere

Rainer de Backere served as a Member of Management Board of Westfälische Provinzial Versicherung AG and was responsible for all investments of the group with special focus also to real estate investments Until 2005. Rainer de Backere holds a number of supervisory and counseling mandates in the financial and real estate industry. (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Frankonia Eurobau AG,  Member of Advisory Board at Quantum Immobilien AG)

Dr. Karl Sevelda

Dr. Karl Sevelda

Karl Sevelda, born 1950, studied at Vienna University of Economics and Business from 1968, completing his studies in 1973 with a Master’s in Social and Economic Sciences. In the following years up to 1976 he carried out freelance research activities on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Science and Research as well as for the Federal Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry. At the same time, he worked for the Institute of Economic Policy. In 1980 Sevelda gained his Doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences. Between 1977 and 1983 Sevelda was a consultant in Commercial Credits and Export Financing with the Creditanstalt-Bankverein, and from 1983 to 1985 he was Economic Policy Director at the Office of the Federal Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Norbert Steger. In 1985 service tours with banks took him to Great Britain and the United States. After his return in 1986 he went back to Creditanstalt-Bankenverein. Until its privatisation in 1997 he was engaged there as Executive Head of Department for Export Financing, Deputy Director of the Financing Division, Director of the Division for International Corporations and Insurance, as well as Director of the Corporate Clients Division. In 1998 Sevelda moved to Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich, where he was a Member of the Board of Directors. In this role he carried worldwide responsibility for the Divisions of “Company Clients Business and Corporate” as well as “Trade and Export Finance”. Between 2010 and 2013 he was Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), and from 7 June 2013 Chair of the Board until 2017. Under his leadership, capital reserves were built up to meet the strict Basel III requirements. In 2014 the bank was able to repay participation capital issued during the 2009 crisis. Nearing the end of his term, RBI merged with its parent Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB), enhancing efficiency and transparency. In March 2017 he was succeeded by Johann Strobl as Chair of the Board of Raiffeisen Bank International.

SIGNA GroupCompliance

SIGNA’s compliance guidelines are based on the recommendations of the European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles (INREV) on the implementation of and adherence to corporate governance guidelines. The main focus of the compliance guidelines is on evaluating compliance criteria and corporate governance guidelines.

SIGNA and all of its associates have declared their adherence to the amended Austrian Code of Corporate Governance adopted in January 2015. The code’s wide-ranging provisions are an essential component of and a guideline for adherence to SIGNA’s compliance regulations.

The code promotes effective and responsible management in the Austrian financial sector, in line with international standards. SIGNA’s voluntary commitment to implementing the code plays a central role in the maintenance and continuous improvement of its rigorous internal legal and ethical standards and code of conduct.

Our consistent organisational and leadership structures are designed to support responsible, long-term and sustainable improvements in the Group’s competitiveness and market position by maintaining high ethical standards in line with the SIGNA’s philosophy and values.