Prof. Dr. Heike Proff | International Automotive Management

Personal Details

Professor Heike Proff studied business administration at the universities of Frankfurt and Mannheim and earned her doctorate in Frankfurt. In Mannheim she received her postdoctoral lecturer qualification with the thesis on “Konsistente Gesamtunternehmerstrategien zwischen Markt- und Ressourcenorientierung” (consistent overall corporate strategies between market-orientation and resource-orientation). She was a visiting scholar at Wharton School in Philadelphia, USA and a visiting professor at Dong-A-University in Pusan, South Korea. From 2004 – 2009 she held the Zeppelin-chair of International Management at Zeppelin-University in Friedrichshafen. There, she founded the “Center for Automotive Management” (CAMA) in 2008. In 2009 she was appointed as a full professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen to hold the chair of general Business Administration & International Automotive Management. She did research in the USA, Japan, Ghana and Korea as well as in the BRIC Countries Brazil, Russia, India and China. Professor Proff regularly publishes in international journals and in research she multidisciplinary deals with colleagues from home and abroad and associated entrepreneurs.


Courses do not only point out the specific characteristics of the automotive industry and management in automotive companies but also the increasing importance of individual mobility. The chair wants to educate in a general profound way. Requirements to the international and intercultural (automotive) management are explained in an interdisciplinary manner.

Open-minded thinkers shall be trained for automotive companies that are often technology-driven. These companies for instance control gearbox development, clutch design and FEM calculations. However, they neglect the interfaces between the economic and engineering functional areas.


The focus on research combines specifics of management in fields like procurement, production and sales with cross area functions of the strategic and international (automotive) management:

  1. Dynamic strategic automotive management along with environmental changes and changes in (automotive) companies.
    • systematic risk and crisis management
    • efficient price-premium management, coordinated multi market management, systematic cooperation management
    • management of the development of competencies in horizontal competition (between direct suppliers) and in vertical competition (between manufacturers and suppliers)
  2. International (automotive) management in emerging markets and in competition to companies from emerging markets
    • BRIC and Beyond – future automotive markets in the light of increasing export competition
    • Cost reduction without loss of differentiation – strategic players facing new competitors from Asia
    • Loss of competence by modularization and outsourcing – the relation of production boundary and knowledge boundary of a company
  3. Development of new business models for (automotive) companies, especially
    • in transition to electric mobility as a challenge of strategic automotive management and
    • for the international management of the (automotive) value chain

Prof. Heike Proff is a member of multiple research networks and associations like the European International Business Academy (EIBA), the Pan-Pacific Business Association (PPBA) and the Strategic Management Society (SMS). She is an original member of the Association for Competence-Based Management (ACBM) and the European Academy of Management (EURAM). She is also member of the Association of University Teachers of Business Administration (registered association) in the Commission for International Management; she is a principle researcher in the international motor vehicle program (IMVP) and le réseau international de l’automobile (Gerpisa). She currently works on research projects to electric mobility like pricing, the transition to new technologies and on management in emerging markets except the Triad. Her results in research are published in renowned international journals like the International Business Review (IBR), the Management International Review (MIR), Omega -The International Journal of Management Science, the International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Property (IJLIC) and the International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (IJATM). She is the co-editor of the yearbook “Strategisches Kompetenz-Management” (strategic competence-based management).