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Prof. (em) Dr. Dr. h.c. Dr. h.c. Richard Köhler


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Richard Köhler passed away on September 4, 2020. His death came so suddenly after a short, serious illness and leaves us in deep mourning. We have lost a colleague and a person who, since his retirement from the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne almost 20 years ago, was intimately connected to our area, the faculty and the university.

Research Focus

Strategic Marketing, Marketing Controlling, Marketing Accounting, Marketing Organization, Market Research, Marketing Communication, Brand Management


Prof. Dr. Richard Köhler, born on December 30, 1936 in Schweinfurt, joined the University of Cologne in 1979. He was director of the Chair for Marketing and Market Research as well as board member of the Institute of Trade Fair Management Research. In February 2002, he was declared Emeritus. He was founding president of KölnAlumni e.V., the alumni network at the University of Cologne, which he headed between 2003 and 2005. On January 26, 2005, Prof. Dr. Köhler received an honorary doctorate (press release of the event) by the Department for Business Administration of the University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. On July 3, 2008, he received a further honorary doctorate by the University of Potsdam (Department for Economic and Social Sciences) (LaudatioAcceptance Speech). On October 30, 2008, he was awarded the Viktor Mataja Medal by the University of Vienna, the highest honor granted by the Austrian Advertising Research Association. On January 25, 2011, in recognition of his service, he was awarded with the University Medal by the University of Cologne. On June 1, 2012 he was declared honorary member by the German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB). In 2018 Köhler was appointed "honour alumnus" at the University of Cologne.

Professional Career

After his Abitur and an apprenticeship as a banker, he studied Business Administration in Würzburg and Mannheim. He received his PhD in 1965 from the University of Mannheim, and was a scientific assistant for Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Curt Sandig as well as being employed by an auditing company from 1963 to 1971. In 1973, he habilitated in Business Administration at the University of Mannheim. From 1973 to 1979, Richard Köhler was Full Professor for Business Policy and Marketing as well as director of the Department of Business Administration at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen. 1978/79, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts in Aachen. He received offers from universities in Aachen, Cologne, Bochum, Freiburg and Innsbruck. From 1969 to 1972, Köhler worked as project manager in the special DFG research group "Sozial- und Wirtschaftspsychologische Entscheidungsforschung" at the University of Mannheim. From 1975 to 1982 and from 1986 to 1991, he was project leader in the DFG research groups "Empirische Entscheidungstheorie" and "Theorie der Innovation in Unternehmen". In 1989, he was a visiting professor at the Keio-University Tokyo, 1994, lecturer in Accounting and Marketing at the Freie Universität Berlin, 2000, visiting professor at the Meiji-University and at the Keio-University in Tokyo as well as at the St. Kliment Ochridski-University in Sofia/Bulgaria in 2000 and 2004. From 1995 to 1997, Prof. Köhler was Dean of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne.

Honorary Activities

From 1981 to 1984, he belonged to the board of the German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB), in the final two years holding the position of a vice-chairman. He was member of the advisory board of the Schmalenbach Association for Business Research from 1983 to 2013. In 1977, he was one of the founding members of the Marketing-Club Aachen e.V., for which he was declared honorary member in 1982. In 1983, he was elected as a full member of the Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale, Bologna. He was on the board of trustees for OFW (Organisationsforum Wirtschaftskongress e.V.) from 1985 to 2009. In 2010, he was appointed honorary trustee of the OFW Board. Since 1999, he has been a member of the scientific committee at the Istituto di Economia d' Impresa at the Universitá degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca. In 2002, he was appointed honorary member of the CONNE (Cologne Nippon Network). From 1990 to 2002, he worked as an active member of the CEMS Interfaculty Group on Marketing (Community of European Management Schools). In 1999, he was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute for Market-Oriented Management (IMU) at the University of Mannheim; 2003 to 2012, he served on the IMU-partner group. From 1980 to 2016, Prof. Köhler was a member of the jury for the Markenverband Prize (chairman from 1992 to 2006), from 1993 to 2016 board member of the board of trustees of the German Society for Research on Brands and Branding (GEM). From 1996 to 2001, he was the first speaker of the Working Group "Nachwuchsförderung" in the German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB). In 2005, the board appointed him as a member of the group "Ethik wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens". In 2011, he was appointed honorary member of the German Society for Research on Brands and Branding (G·E·M) and, in 2012, an honorary member of the Marketing Club Cologne / Bonn. Prof. Köhler was founding editor of the journal "Die Betriebswirtschaft" (DBW), where he participated as an active editor from 1977 to 2006. Along with Hermann Diller, he publishes the Kohlhammer Marketing Edition (from 1981 to 2002 with Heribert Meffert).

List of All Publications

A full directory of about 240 publications and working papers can be downloaded here (PDF).