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The SIGNA Group

At a glance

SIGNA is a privately managed and commercially active industrial group engaged in the business sectors of real estate and retail. In the 19 years since it was founded, SIGNA has succeeded in developing into a company of truly European scale and format. SIGNA today is one of the most significant real estate investors in Europe, and operates commercial concerns, which are famous names in their own right.

SIGNA Real Estate employs approximately 350 people in ten offices in Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. The gross asset value amounts to some EUR 14 billion, and the development volume accounts of some EUR 8 billion. SIGNA Real Estate is organised in five independent divisions:

SIGNA Prime Selection owns a portfolio of exclusive real estate in the best locations in Austria, Germany and Italy. The vast majority of these extraordinary properties will remain in the hands of SIGNA Prime long-term. It continually develops its stock of real estate investments by acquiring and developing projects at top sites with potential for significant value appreciation.

SIGNA Development Selection invests in development projects in major urban centres, primarily in German-speaking countries. This also includes office blocks and towers, residential complexes, shopping centres and hotels. The company pursues a “buy – develop – sell” strategy. In 2017, it acquired the Viennese property developer BAI Bauträger Austria Immobilien GmbH. 

SIGNA Innovations aims to play a decisive role in the digitalisation of the real estate market. The company invests in innovative ideas, platforms, and business models relating to real estate, and takes advantage of high-tech solutions as well as utilisation and service models, which not only offer interesting returns but also make SIGNA the leader in innovations.

SIGNA Funds manages closed-end real estate funds for private investors with steady profits and long-term increases in value. Furthermore, the company pursues opportunistic real estate investments. New projects such as daycare centres (KidINVEST) and student residences as well as city apartments (SIGNA Urban Living) round out the company’s portfolio.

SIGNA Luxury Hotels sets the highest possible standards in the conception, development and marketing of unique destinations in the most beautiful parts of Central Europe, and is the operator of highly impressive luxury hotels and resorts. For instance, Chalet N in Lech am Arlberg, Vienna’s luxurious Park Hyatt Vienna, and the luxury resort Villa Eden Gardone on Lake Garda, with its five-star boutique hotel, are also included in its portfolio.

Established under the overall corporate umbrella of SIGNA Retail are a number of commercial concerns, operating next to one another but independently. Around 45,000 employees at some 320 sites in the best city centre locations and over 100 web shops in some 20 countries generate annual revenues of more than EUR 7 billion.

The KaDeWe Group is part of SIGNA Premium, and is the leading premium and luxury department store group in the brick-and-mortar sector in Germany and Europe. It operates three luxury department stores: KaDeWe, Oberpollinger and Alsterhaus. With the acquisition of the fashion mall for premium and luxury fashion, MYBESTBRANDS, in mid-2017, the company has also further strengthened its position in the digital sector.

As the leading online sports platform in cycling, tennis, outdoor pursuits, team sports and athleisure, SIGNA Sports United operates around 80 web stores in 17 countries. Serving more than 2.5 million active customers and with approx. 170 million website visits per year, the company is without doubt the number-one sports e-commerce platform for sports enthusiasts in continental Europe.

Karstadt and Kaufhof are two of Germany’s leading department store chains. Following approval from the antitrust authorities, they will form a joint venture, with over 243 sites in very good European city centre locations and a total of 32,000 employees. The Group is pursuing the goal of becoming a “marketplace of the future", combining shopping offers both online and offline.

Furniture chain kika/Leiner was acquired in June 2018 and is an integral part of SIGNA Home & Lifestyle. With 70 establishments and more than 5,000 employees in five countries, this iconic company is one of the giants in the sector. For SIGNA Retail, the acquisition of kika/Leiner also marks its entry into brick-and-mortar retail in Austria for the first time.

SIGNA Food & Restaurants is one of the largest quick-service platforms in the German market. Its portfolio includes, among other things, the joint venture with EATALY. The Group positions itself as an innovative and swift service provider. Based on its excellent expertise, the group will grow further through acquisitions and master franchise agreements/joint ventures.

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 is Chairman of the Executive Board at SIGNA Group and Chairman of SIGNA Retail, as of 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.

Jürgen Fenk

Jürgen Fenk

Born in 1966, Jürgen Fenk 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.

Timo Herzberg

Timo Herzberg

Timo Herzberg, CEO of SIGNA Real Estate Germany, was appointed to the SIGNA Group Executive Board in December 2018. He joined SIGNA at the start of 2017 and is responsible for all of the Group’s real estate operations in Germany. He has almost 20 years’ experience of the property investment and development business, and has worked with a number of private and institutional property investors from Germany and abroad. In 2006, Mr Herzberg set up Signature Capital Group Germany, which he headed as a director and CEO.

Christoph Stadlhuber

Christoph Stadlhuber

Christoph Stadlhuber, CEO of SIGNA Real Estate Austria, is responsible for all of the Group’s real estate operations in Austria. He joined SIGNA in 2011 and was appointed CEO of SIGNA Prime Selection AG and SIGNA Development Selection AG, as well as Managing Director of SIGNA Holding GmbH. Christoph Stadlhuber has been spokesman of the SIGNA Group Executive Board since 2013. He has a degree in spatial planning from Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien). He served as Head of Cabinet to the Austrian Federal Minister of Economics and Labour, Martin Bartenstein. He has built up extensive experience of the real estate sector, including as managing director of Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H between 2003 and 2011.

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.

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 thirteen personalities, including the three original founding members, the board’s chairman René Benko and Alfred Gusenbauer, Roland Berger, Walid Chammah, Günter Koller, Susanne Riess, Karl Stoss, Karl Sevelda, Torsten Toeller and Ernst Tanner.

What they all have in common is their high commitment to 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 1999, more than EUR 14 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 7.5 billion was established.

Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer

Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer

Alfred Gusenbauer was an Austrian Federal Chancellor. After leaving politics, he held a number of selected posts on supervisory boards, among them as chairman of the Supervisory Board of Strabag, one of Austria’s largest construction companies, as well as of SIGNA Prime Selection AG and SIGNA Development Selection AG. In addition to this, since the winter semester 2009 he has been a Visiting Professor at the US “Ivy League” Harvard University. Alfred Gusenbauer is regarded as an expert in the fields of foreign policy, security policy, and economic policy, and is the holder of a number of national and foreign awards and distinctions

Ernst Tanner

Ernst Tanner

Ernst Tanner is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lindt & Sprüngli and turned the then struggling takeover candidate into a global corporation. As a result, he succeeded in substantially increasing sales and increasing the market value of Lindt & Sprüngli by twentyfold. Previously, Mr. Tanner worked for more than 20 years at Johnson & Johnson, most recently as Company Group Chairman responsible for the entire European consumer goods business. Mr. Tanner is also on the Supervisory Board of the Swatch Group and the German brewery Krombacher. He also served on the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of Credit Suisse for more than 15 years.

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. From 2007 until the end of 2017 Karl Stoss was 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)

Torsten Toeller

Torsten Toeller

Torsten Toeller, the founder and sole owner of Fressnapf Tiernahrungs GmbH, completed an apprenticeship in retailing after obtaining his secondary school leaving certificate, and went on to do a degree in the subject. After a business trip to the US, he developed the idea of a store selling pet food and accessories on the German market. At the age of 24 he opened the first Fressnapf store, in Erkelenz, followed in 1992 by the first franchise outlet. Fressnapf is currently the leader in the pet supplies market, with around 1,400 stores in 12 European countries, more than 10,000 employees and revenue of over EUR 1.8 billion. In 2012 Mr Toeller set up Devario Invest GmbH, a company that develops and finances real estate projects. Two years later he established the GENUI private equity fund, which provides companies with growth capital.

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 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.