Company History

Kienbaum's going for it

Find out here why Kienbaum has added the number 75 to its brand. Discover the history of the family business and be inspired by our plans for the next 75 years.

Autobiography – Am Anfang war der Rat

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.

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.

Kienbaum job advertisement – historical
Kienbaum France Portrait – historical

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.

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).

Jochen Kienbaum
Kienbaum Headquarter Cologne

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.

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.

Fabian Kienbaum
Kienbaum anniversary logo

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.

Kienbaum – #WePowerment since 75 years.

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