Founded in 1879, Verein Berliner Kaufleute und Industrieller (VBKI) is one of the oldest economic institutions in Germany. With its 2,300 members, the association is one of the most important networks in Berlin's business community.


The VBKI at a glance

Founding year


Events during the year

Brief portrait

At VBKI, we bring together people from business and urban society in an inspiring, cross-industry NETWORK together. Based on the free and democratic basic order, our 2,300 members work in the DIALOGUE with the state's political leaders and as critical and constructive supporters of Berlin's political agenda to make the capital region a better and more successful place to live. With our Social commitment in the areas of education, integration, culture and sport, we build bridges and strengthen cohesion in our city. In this way, the VBKI has been contributing to a unique project since 1879: the future of Berlin! Wir unternehmen Berlin!

VBKI Executive Board

The VBKI Executive Board formulates the guidelines and determines the direction in which the association develops. President Markus Voigt and Managing Director Ute Weiland represent the association externally. The Vice Presidents are Dr. Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta and Christian Kloevekorn.


Markus Voigt

CEO Treysta Ingenieure Holding
Phone: 030 - 72 61 08 - 0, markus.voigt@vbki.de

Vice President

Dr. Sigrid Nikutta

Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn AG, Chairwoman of the Management Board of DB Cargo AG, sigrid.nikutta@vbki.de

Vice President

Christian Kloevekorn

COO Apleona


Michael Salcher

Regional Director East, Head of Energy & Natural Resources KPMG AG

Member of the Executive Board

Dr. Andrea Grebe

Healthcare expert

Member of the Executive Board

Stephanie Bschorr

Partner Nexia GmbH

Member of the Executive Board

Marc Müller

Tax consultant and board member of ETL AG Steuerberatungsgesellschaft

Member of the Executive Board

Dr. Kay Lindemann

Head of Group Policy Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Member of the Executive Board

Marianne Ludes

Chairwoman of the Board of the Potsdam Literature Festival, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Member of the Board of the Ludes Foundation.

Member of the Executive Board

Kaweh Niroomand

Manager/ Managing Director BR Volleys

Member of the Executive Board

Stefan Oelrich

Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and Head of the Pharmaceuticals Division

Member of the Executive Board

Prof. Dr. Jörg K. Ritter

Senior Advisor, Professor of Business Administration Quadriga University of Applied Sciences Berlin

Member of the Executive Board

Klaus Siegers

Chairman of the Management Board of Weberbank Actiengesellschaft

Member of the Executive Board

Dr. Kilian Jay von Seldeneck

CFO 4TEEN4 Pharmaceuticals GmbH

Member of the Executive Board

Henrik Thomsen

Board of Directors Quarterback Immobilien AAG

The office

Managing Director

Ute Weiland

Tel.: 0152 - 34 60 22 19

Head of Business Development

Maria Arizti

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 27

Head of Social Commitment & BERLINER LESEPATEN

Karola Hagen

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 56

Head of Finance

Juliane Kretschmer

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 24

Head of Communication and Marketing

Sebastian Thomas

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 17

Head of Event Management and Events

Silja Schoppmann

Tel.: 0176 - 48 99 88 76

Project manager Policy

Philipp Zettl

Tel.: 0151 - 74 37 43 92

Project manager Event Management

Katja Bartz

Tel.: 0178 - 264 72 83

Project manager Event Management

Anja Paulus

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 12

Project manager Event Management

Chantal-Cathérine Russo

Tel.: 0152 - 34 23 84 19

Project manager Event Management

Juliana Wilde

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 33

On parental leave

Project manager Business Development

Annett Kahl 

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 11

Project manager Business Development

Silvia Projic

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 0


Christine Brand

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 49


Laura Bierle

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 44


Project manager "Einstieg zum Aufsteig"

Caroline von Falkenhausen

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 13

Project manager "Einstieg zum Aufsteig"

Kseniya Milner

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 42

Financial accounting

Kerstin Menger

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 23

Technology and sport

Jörg Pietsch

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 18

Office Management

Nicole Jäschke

Tel.: 030 - 72 61 08 - 14

The history of the VBKI

Tradition and experience form a strong foundation on which to shape the future: The VBKI has been accompanying Berlin's eventful history since 1879.

As an important forum for the Berlin economy, Verein Berliner Kaufleute und Industrieller (VBKI) now has an impact far beyond the capital's borders. Its voice carries weight. Since its foundation in 1879, our association has been committed to the society in which we live and work. We plan for the future - and can look back on over 130 years of tradition.

Dialogue as a message

The VBKI was founded in the early days of Berlin. Trade, commerce and the construction industry experienced an enormous upswing at the time. It was the time of the great initiators: the Rathenaus, the Siemens, the Borsigs and the Scherings, who transformed a small Brandenburg town into a global metropolis with their entrepreneurial drive. On October 6, 1879, 329 Berlin merchants founded Verein Berliner Kaufleute und Industrieller . From the very beginning, the association stood for responsible entrepreneurship: its members advocated dialog between business, science and politics, for a market economy and pluralism.

The First World War sets Berlin's economy back a long way. Revolution, reparations and inflation are followed by a brief period of apparent prosperity, which is brutally brought to an end by the global economic crisis. When the National Socialists came to power in 1933, the darkest chapter in the history of Germany and the association began: the VBKI was brought into line and forcibly aryanized. Many successful Jewish entrepreneurs were expelled from the city and the VBKI lost two thirds of its members in a short space of time. This silences one of the last voices fighting for freedom and human dignity. At the end of the war, Berlin is destroyed, the entire country completely ruined. And yet, in this darkest hour, there is still hope for a new beginning.

Reconstruction and reunification

In 1948, the VBKI is re-established: Courageous entrepreneurs around Jakob Dichter obtain the re-admission of the association from the Allied authorities. They begin to work for the entrepreneurial reconstruction of their hometown - primarily in West Berlin due to the division. The association developed into the standard bearer of the free market economy in a besieged city, symbolizing the perseverance of entrepreneurs who did not want to give up on this city and in this city. Many experienced the turnaround of 1989/90 as a liberation and a new opportunity. The association was finally able to extend its sphere of activity to the whole of Berlin and Brandenburg and make its contribution to Berlin's resurgence as an economic metropolis.

To the VBKI Gallery of Honor


The three dimensions of the VBKI


We bring Berlin's decision-makers together



We support the debate on the future of the city


We are committed to the city and its people