Secretary General

Dr. Georg Schütte, Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation
Photo: Philip Bartz for Volkswagen Foundation

As of 1 January 2020, Dr. Georg Schütte is the Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation. The private foundation, based in Hanover, is dedicated to the support of the humanities and social sciences as well as science and technology in research and higher education and is one of the largest foundations in Europe. On 28 June 2019 the Board of Trustees of the Volkswagen Foundation had elected Dr. Georg Schütte to succeed Dr. Wilhelm Krull as Secretary General.


Prior to his engagement with the Volkswagen Foundation, Georg Schütte served as State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education a position to which he was appointed in December 2009 by the then Minister of Education Annette Schavan. In this function, Schütte was particularly involved in the areas of research funding, European research policy, and international scientific cooperation. From 2018 to 2019, he was in charge of negotiations at State Secretary level between the Federal Government and the Länder on the future financing of the German science system and was responsible for the ministry’s budget. 

Before this, in 2004, Schütte was appointed to the post of Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation in Bonn – his third term of employment at this foundation. From 2001 to 2003, Schütte was Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission in Berlin. He switched to Berlin following his second appointment at the Humboldt Foundation, where he had headed its policy department from 1998 to 2001. Before this career step, he had worked as a research assistant at the University of Siegen, held teaching positions at various universities, and occupied a position as program manager at the Humboldt Foundation from 1993 to 1998.


In the frame of his doctorate, the media and communication scholar conducted research at the DFG Collaborative Research Center "Screen Media" at the University of Siegen (1989-1994) and as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University (1992). He studied journalism at the TU Dortmund and television and radio at the City University of New York from 1984 and completed his studies in 1989 with a Master of Arts degree. Dr. Schütte was born in Rheine, Germany, in 1962.

The way to the Volkswagen Foundation

Dr. Schütte is closely familiar with the work and organization of the Volkswagen Foundation from his time as a member of the Board of Trustees (2013-2018). The Foundation's highest decision-making body consists of 14 personalities, half of whom are appointed by the German government and half by the state government of Lower Saxony. Dr. Schütte held the office of Deputy Chairperson.


Over the years, Dr. Schütte has held supervisory board positions in various scientific organizations. He was a member of the university councils of the Universities of Bonn and Siegen, the founding supervisory board of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Berlin Institute for Health Research (BIG), the supervisory board of the Society for Heavy Ion Research (GSI), the International Council of the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), the supervisory board of the Futurium Berlin, the board of trustees of the Max Planck Institute for Art History - Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, and the senates of the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Fulbright Alumni e. V..

Personal life

Dr. Schütte is married and has two adult children. He finds balance and new ideas not least in jogging and long walks. He finds reading not a burden, but always a joy.

Previous Secretaries General of the Volkswagen Foundation:

  • Dr. Wilhelm Krull 1996 - 2019
  • Rolf Möller 1983 - 1995
  • Dr. Walter Borst 1976 - 1982
  • Dr. Rudolf Kerscher, Dr. Werner Seifart 1975 – 1976 (acting Secretaries General)
  • Dipl.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Gotthard Gambke 1962 - 1975