Rainer Klump replaces Wolfgang König as Executive Director of the House of Finance

After 14 years at the helm of the House of Finance (HoF) at Goethe University, Wolfgang König is handing over the position of the institution’s Executive Director to his successor Rainer Klump. In a ceremony at the Westend Campus on June 9, Hesse's Finance Minister Michael Boddenberg emphasized the importance of the House of Finance for Frankfurt’s role as a research and financial center.

 

Wolfgang König was appointed Executive Director of the House of Finance in 2008, the year the interdisciplinary center for leading finance-related research and training was founded. Since then, the Professor of Business Informatics and Information Management has played a vital role in the development of the new center. At the time of its founding, nobody suspected that the global markets were about to be shaken by a severe financial crisis. However, "the outbreak of the global financial crisis impressively demonstrated the need for top-level research and policy advice in the field of finance in Germany's most important financial center," recalls the long-standing Executive Director of the House of Finance. His successor, Rainer Klump, Professor of Economics at Goethe University, thanked Wolfgang König and outlined possible future objectives of the HoF. "It’s an honor to take over the office of Executive Director of the House of Finance from Wolfgang König, whom I thank most sincerely for his work. The HoF has a lighthouse function for Goethe University, the financial center of Frankfurt, and the state of Hesse.“

In his speech, Michael Boddenberg, Finance Minister of the Land Hesse, referred to current uncertainties: “The corona pandemic, climate change and Russia’s war against Ukraine are major challenges. Not only are the economy and national budgets suffering from these developments: We‘re all directly affected by the effects of these challenges, among them high energy prices and inflation.“ Mr Boddenberg noted that under these circumstances, he was particularly grateful for the link between the academic community and society that the House of Finance provides. Commenting on the changes at the head of the House of Finance, he said: “Professor König has been one of the constants in the fast-moving academic world and has remained loyal to Goethe-University, which he entered 50 years ago for his studies. On behalf of the government of the land of Hesse, I express our gratitude and great respect for his valuable work. I am very optimistic that Professor Klump will continue the successful leadership of this important and renowned  institution.“

In his welcome address, University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff called the House of Finance "an important element for our vision of an excellent, international Goethe University in the digital age". He continued: "We want to help generate, communicate and use knowledge for development, sustainability and justice in the 21st century.“ Schleiff thanked Prof. König for developing the HoF into an internationally-recognized brand and a fundamental cornerstone of the financial center. Addressing the future director Prof. Klump, Schleiff said: "Since you know both sides, the House of Finance and the Goethe University, you know that the HoF is an indispensable incubator and impulse provider for us, for Frankfurt and for Hesse. All of us here and at Goethe University wish you all the best in your new task - we look forward to the impulses that the HoF will provide in the coming years.”

The President of the Board of Trustees of the House of Finance, Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. mult. Otmar Issing, pointed out that one of the achievements of the House of Finance concept was the emergence of new, efficient research institutions such as the Leibniz Institute for Financial Market Research SAFE. He emphasized that "the combined expertise of the HoF's researchers on such central issues as monetary stability, a stable financial architecture, pension provision in times of demographic change, and digital transformation" is highly esteemed in politics and society.

From a practitioner's point of view, Dr. Cornelius Riese, Co-Chairman of the Board of DZ BANK AG, stated: "The House of Finance greatly enriches the financial center Frankfurt through its successful mix of a broad range of topics and specialization and through the high quality of its work that opens up a wide range of opportunities”. This is mainly due to the work of Prof. König, for whom the fruitful exchange between academia and business has always been an important issue."

Prof. Oliver Hinz, Professor of Information Systems and Information Management at Goethe University, pointed out that Wolfgang König had played a decisive role in shaping the academic discipline of Information Systems and Management in Germany: “He was a pioneer with tireless diligence and commitment not only for Goethe University and the House of Finance but also for his discipline as a whole. The direct link between IT and finance was recognized early on in Hesse and is reflected in relevant and forward-looking research at the House of Finance."

Prof. Katja Langenbucher, Professor of Civil Law, Commercial Law, and Banking Law at the House of Finance, said that "interdisciplinary cooperation ... is complex and many institutions found it a hard nut to crack". However, the House of Finance, under the lead of Wolfgang König, has "countered these difficulties with a highly-elegant approach that is convincing in its simplicity: to provide a roof over people's heads, a place to meet and talk. In this way, cutting-edge research has consciously happened by chance, triggered by a coffee in the morning, a shared conversation in the hallway, or a lecture event under this very roof."