In this episode of the Road to Growth podcast, we are pleased to introduce you to Hermann Simon . Hermann Simon, PhD., is a world-renowned management thinker, consultant, pricing expert, entrepreneur and leading authority on the “hidden champions” business model. He is the founder and honorary chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners, the world’s leading price consultancy with over 1,700 employees and 42 offices worldwide. Simon is the author of 40 books in 30 different languages, including worldwide bestseller Hidden Champions, first published by Harvard Business School in 1996.
Since Simon’s introduction of the term “Hidden Champion'' almost thirty years ago, business leaders have been fascinated with these 3,400 successful companies – roughly half of which are German – who, despite being midsize companies, often have global market shares of over 50 percent. These hidden champions are behind Germany's success in exports and a differentiator in how business is done in the United States. Simon’s recent work focuses on how the United States and other countries can learn from Germany’s hidden champions.
Simon continues to bring value to the marketing world through his writing, recentling publishing True Profit!: No Company Ever Went Broke Turning a Profit (Springer, July 2021). In True Profit! Simon brings clarity to the jungle of profits and balance sheets, shedding light on the performance of numerous companies and industries in an international comparison. He discusses the dilemma of why more than 80% of companies in the U.S. that have gone public have never turned a profit, and questions allegations of corporate greed – arguing that profit-making is ethical if achieved in a decent way.
Recently, Simon also released an autobiography, Many Worlds, One Life: A Remarkable Journey from Farmhouse to the Global Stage (Springer, March 2021), which highlights the influences on his remarkable journey from humble origins on a German farm to advising and sharing the stage with global leaders in industry, academia and politics. Many Worlds, One Life reveals unique insights into the man himself and the origins of his ideas on successful leadership and business strategy. Many Worlds, One Life has been published in English, German, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Simon’s upcoming book, Hidden Champions in the Chinese Century: Ascent and Transformation (Springer, April 2022), is an in-depth exploration of the ever-changing operating conditions, as well as the greater uncertainty and volatility, that will define global business over the next 10 years—with a particular focus on China’s impact. Whether a company is a “Hidden Champion” or aspires to be one, this newest release from Simon provides essential food for thought as executives and managers chart their course into the future.
Before committing himself to management consulting, Simon was a professor of business administration and marketing at the Universities of Mainz and Bielefeld. During his academic career, he was a visiting professor at Harvard Business School, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as INSEAD, London Business School and Keio University in Tokyo. Simon is an honorary professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, and the “Hermann Simon Business School” in China is named after him.
In 1995, Simon made the life-changing decision to leave his professorship behind. He put his Hidden Champions blueprint into practice as an entrepreneur, founding his own consulting firm, Simon-Kucher & Partners, with Dr. Eckhard Kucher, his first doctoral student. Simon-Kucher & Partners is now the global market leader in price consulting, growing considerably faster than the rest of the consulting market, with $522 million in revenue in 2021, 18% average annual growth, and a clear focus on top-line growth.
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