With a bicycle, courage and pioneering spirit, Gerhard Kienbaum laid the foundation stone for our company in October 1945. Kienbaum became the first German consulting firm and the only human resource and management consultancy of European origin. As a family enterprise, we are now represented by 600 employees in 26 offices on four continents.

In a complex world, where predictions are impossible, the only constant is change. This means for us: We are taking the next step in the third generation. We need the intelligence of the crowd and the personality of the individual. We see ourselves as an individualized community, in which everyone is invited to unfold their potential.

We build a future for people and organizations

Kienbaum ‘Leading by #WePowerment’

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2021 – We breathe diversity

In August 2021, the family business opened its overall management for the first time to a top executive outside their own family. Dr. Bibi Hahn became the Co-Chief Empowerment Officer and now runs the company together with Fabian Kienbaum. What sets Bibi Hahn apart from her understanding of performance and values: She has more than 20 years of experience in HR, organizational, and executive search consulting. As a result, she is not only a top consultant who is firmly established in the market but is also an equally strong internal manager. Most recently she was the managing director of Korn Ferry Germany.

The dual leadership has set itself the goal of further expanding Kienbaum’s work as a progressive company for people and organizations. The entire Kienbaum team relies on its strength to bring potential to life: This is the only way to reconcile today’s skills with tomorrow’s requirements.

2020 – 75 years of Kienbaum

In 2020 Kienbaum celebrates its 75th anniversary. That is why we have added the number to our reg-ular company logo. In this special year we would like to highlight the origins and history of Kienbaum at selected occasions. However, in doing so, we are not only looking back into the past, but also into the future: We are a family business. We believe in the creative power of people, which we call #WePowerment. We give people and organizations a future. And that is what we want to keep doing in the next three quarters of a century.

With the experience of the past 75 years, with more than 70,000 projects, with the diversity of 600 people, with our know-how situated at 26 locations on four continents, with the reliability of a family business and the pioneering spirit of a new generation, Kienbaum is always at your side. Kienbaum guides companies through the phase of transformation in a respectful, committed and result-oriented manner – ready to continue writing history for the next 75 years.

2018 – We live #WePowerment

In 2018, Fabian Kienbaum, son of Jochen Kienbaum, assumes the function of Chief Empowerment Officer. Kienbaum’s new guiding principle is to restructure the company and focus on digitization and fair work: Leading by #WePowerment.

2004 – We conquer the Netherlands

Kienbaum has been active in the Dutch market as early as the late sixties, initially this was done by German consultants doing some Assessment projects in the Netherlands. Later, both Assessment and Executive Search services were offered to the Dutch market through partnerships with Berenschot.

In 2004 Hans Jonkers established Kienbaum Netherlands, located in Amsterdam. Initially, the focus was on Executive Search which has remained an important pillar of the Dutch organisation until today. In 2006, Assessment services as well as Leadership development services were added, to be followed with Interim Executives in 2009. NewPlacement services were first offered on the Dutch market in 2010. Throughout the years, also other services offered by Kienbaum International were delivered in the Netherlands, such as Compensation & Benefits, Performance management and Job grading, staffed by Dutch consultants and supported by the respective Center of Excellence at Kienbaum’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany.

2000 – We are the trendsetters in consulting

In 2000, Kienbaum secured first place in the BDU ranking of the largest German personnel consultancies. The Japanese Corporate Business division commences operations and in 2007, Kienbaum opens its first office in Japan. Kienbaum continues its international growth strategy in 2013 and opens new offices in Atlanta and Istanbul. In 2016, Kienbaum again receives the award “Best Consultant 2016” from the industry report “brand eins Wissen und Statista” for the area of consulting leadership, organization and human resources. Under the umbrella of Kienbaum Consultants International, Kienbaum unites its operating companies to offer customers even greater added value and consulting services across the entire value chain.

In December, the Gummersbach headquarters move to the new Cologne location.

1977 – We move people

Jochen Kienbaum, son of Gerhard Kienbaum, takes over the management of the Berlin office in 1977. Kienbaum Berlin GmbH is founded in December. Eight years later, Gerhard Kienbaum transfers the chair of the Kienbaum und Partner Management Board to his son. In this year, the first personnel development concepts are drawn up and consulting services, related to the human factor gain in importance. In 1998, Jochen Kienbaum is appointed president of the BDU (Federal Association of German Management Consultants).

1957 – We go international

In 1957, Kienbaum und Partner had offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main and Düsseldorf. At that time, 90 employees are working for the company. Internationalization also takes its course with the first Kienbaum office in Vienna. Kienbaum is linked to consulting firms in many Western European countries through cooperation agreements. A network of contacts is established from Scandinavia to Italy, Greece and Spain. In 1971, Kienbaum founds Kienbaum Consultores Ltda. In addition to its headquarters in Gummersbach, the company is represented in 18 countries on four continents.

1955 – We know the managers of tomorrow

With its expansion into a group of companies for planning, consulting and operations management in all areas of economy, transport and agriculture as well as integrated regional development, Kienbaum has achieved a leading position in Germany within ten years. In the event of staff shortages, Kienbaum consultants are increasingly approached by the management to find out whether they know a suitable candidate for a vacancy. These inquiries led to the development of the executive recruitment segment until in 1978, Kienbaum Personalberatung is founded. The idea of an integrated consulting approach is born and, with its focus on people, has become a guiding principle throughout Kienbaum’s history.

1945 – We are a family enterprise

The Kienbaum story began on 15 October 1945 with a bicycle and a revolutionary idea. After his return from captivity as a prisoner of war, graduate engineer Gerhard Kienbaum opened an office in Gummersbach for “Technical Consulting, Translations and Representations” to support war-damaged companies in their reconstruction. The idea of business consulting was born. He visited companies in the region by bicycle and advised them on all questions of structural and process optimization. Kienbaum became the first consulting company in Europe.


At Kienbaum The Netherlands we recognize not only the social importance of diversity & inclusivity, but also its economic significance. In our view, diverse perspectives ultimately lead to better decisions, innovation and governance. We are committed to diversity in our long and short lists, as well as within our own organization. We closely work together with various platforms and other resources, like the ‘top female’ initiative, where we meet hundreds of women annually, thereby having access to the national top female database.

Kienbaum was also asked by the German government to evaluate the ingrowth quota and target value for more diversity in the top ranks of businesses and to advise on how to accelerate this process. In the Netherlands, the social and economic council (SER) is currently consulting on the topic to translate the lessons learned into Dutch legislation and programs.

Furthermore, Kienbaum organizes cross border seminars to exchange best practices between directors and supervisory board members from Germany and the Netherlands.

Corporate Social Responsibility

We support the Black Jaguar Foundation which pursues one clear objective: planting indigenous trees on a massive scale to help realize the Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor to improve the lives of each of us and of all future generations on our planet. Kienbaum supports the BJF innovative and social approach financially as well as through creating more awareness amongst our network. For more information, please visit their website.