13.–19.01.2020 for all: 17.–19.01.2020


The speaker of imm cologne congress


Dr. Kai Hudetz has been Managing Director of Cologne-based retail research consultancy IFH Köln since August 2009. Prior to this, he was Director of the institute’s ECC Cologne, having been one of the group behind its founding in 1999. His many years of experience have made Dr. Hudetz one of the most sought-after e-commerce experts in Germany. He has authored a number of studies and many specialist articles on current issues in retail in the digital era. In addition to teaching as a visiting lecturer at various universities, Kai Hudetz is a popular speaker and moderator at leading industry events. Dr. Hudetz also served on the supervisory board of Intershop Communications AG from June 2013 to June 2016 and is currently a member of several advisory boards.

Kai Hudetz
Dennis Riggers

... is a member of the management board at Vintage-Möbel24 GmbH. He is passionate about innovative technologies and the development of new business models.

While still a student, he ran a management consultancy business. Furthermore, he founded his own company and worked for groups such as Omya International AG, Deutsche Bahn AG and tecis Finanzdienstleistungen AG.

Dennis Riggers claimed first place in a competition by HAW and the Napier University in Edinburgh in the corporate founding/consulting section.

Jürgen Schuster

... CEO of Raumschmiede GmbH, entrepreneur and founder. After studying Political Sciences and Economics in Regensburg and a brief intermezzo as a scientific employee at Tubingen University and a consulting firm in Munich, Jürgen Schuster has been concentrating on setting up "Garten-und-Freizeit.de" since 2007.

In his capacity as managing partner, he has developed Garten-und-Freizeit.de into the leading category specialist for garden furniture and other beautiful items for the garden together with a team now comprising around 150 employees. He has established the private brand OUTLIV. as a significant player in the garden furniture sector.

Since 2014, the WEKO group has supported the development of Raumschmiede GmbH as a strategic investor, with Raumschmiede also operating the indoor furniture store piolo.de since 2018.

In early 2019, bedroom specialist Betten.de also joined the Raumschmiede family, whose vision is to create a great venue for permanent change and development that enables its employees to be effective and keep on developing better, simpler and more sustainable solutions for themselves, the team and the customers of the respective online shops.

Polish subsidiary HSF E-Commerce Sp. z o.o. has become established as an expert in logistics services, especially in the field of e commerce furniture logistics. It operates the Polish garden furniture store Outliv.pl.

Jürgen Schuster
Katrin Nieke

... Head of Performance Marketing, Emma - The Sleep Company. From dream destinations to dream engineers: following her tourism studies, which were split between France and Germany, Katrin Nieke worked for the French tourist board for five years where she was responsible for France’s tourism marketing for the German market, first as a project manager and then as team leader.

It’s a well-known fact that travellers can’t be tied down, and so her desire for a flexible way of working and her strong creative drive attracted her to the start-up scene.

This led her to the Bettzeit sleep tech group, where she has since been responsible for the global brand marketing of the Emma and Dunlopillo brands.

If Katrin Nieke has learned one thing above all else from her time in the tourism industry, it’s an understanding of the value of high service standards. At Bettzeit, the focus is always on the customer – whether by day or night – and Katrin makes sure that this ethos is a tangible reality.

She rarely relies on her gut feelings, instead consistently making decisions on the basis of customer feedback and data. And Bettzeit’s data-driven approach works. In 2018, Emma was named the fastest-growing tech start-up in Europe with growth of 14,315 per cent (2016–2017), and the brand is already available in 20 countries worldwide.

Katrin Nieke
Laura Müller

... has been the Spokesperson at deinSchrank.de GmbH since May 2017. In January 2019, she also took on the role of Head of Communications (unpaid) for the group of companies deinSchrank.de Holding GmbH.

Prior to this, Laura took a media studies degree at the University of Siegen between 2009 and 2012. She then held various positions with the RTL media group until 2017 – initially training as an editor, reporter and newsreader at the RTL School of Journalism with practical placements at n-tv and children’s news programme “Logo!”, among others, going on temporary assignment abroad at ZDF’s studio in Israel and finally working as a journalist and correspondent for North Rhine-Westphalia for the RTL WEST magazine show. She has obtained additional qualifications through various media training opportunities.

Laura Müller
Christoph Ritschel

... CEO of MÖBELFIRST, the platform for the German furniture retail trade and operator of several online shops for branded and designer furniture, including the largest outlet for ex-showroom furniture in the DACH group of German-speaking countries. Ritschel began his career with kitchens manufacturer nobilia and, after taking a degree in business administration, he worked at Roland Berger in Munich and Berlin. He is a former Konrad Adenauer Foundation scholarship student and sits on the advisory board for digital issues for Germany’s CDU/CSU parliamentary association of small and medium-sized businesses (MIT). Ritschel is a third-generation furniture retailer; he co-founded MÖBELFIRST with Dennis T. Franken in 2015.

Christoph Ristchel
Dr. Benno Zerlin

... is a co-founder of Westwing Group AG and its Director of Purchasing. Benno joined the group in order to establish westwingnow.de, which he built from the ground up to become a Euro 100 million business and now heads as a Co-Managing Director. In this role, he is responsible for category management, pricing policy, production and the entire supplier base. Benno is a member of the executive team at the Westwing Group. Before he came to Westwing, Benno was a junior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he was part of the global leadership team with oversight of strategy and purchasing practices.

Benno holds a degree in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Munich and Yokohama National University. He also earned a doctorate and the title Dr.-Ing. in the same subject from the Technical University of Munich and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Dr. Benno Zerlin
Michael Stiehl

... took up the post of Managing Director at Rauch Möbelwerke GmbH in Freudenberg, Germany, in October 1999 and has been Chairman of the Management Board since 2001 and is thus also responsible for the group’s wood-based materials business.

He also became a shareholder in the company in 2003. Before joining Rauch, he held various positions at Daimler-Benz AG over a 16-year period. Alongside his responsibility for the ERP systems in the company’s commercial vehicles business segment, he coordinated the first group-wide introduction of SAP. As well as leading an M&A process to purchase a company in Asia, Stiehl developed and implemented a supplier programme before managing the office of a member of the board.

Stiehl’s career path has been characterised by an entrepreneurial approach and the forward-looking willingness to seize opportunities in the context of structural changes in industry and business. In addition to his full-time role at Rauch, Stiehl plays an active role in industry bodies. For example, he is Vice President of the main association of the German timber industry (HDH), Vice President of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM) and Vice President of the regional association for the industrial sector in the state of Baden-Württemberg (LVI-BW). Stiehl has also been a member of the supervisory board of wood-based materials supplier Egger since 2019.

Michael Stiehl