Gerhard Drexel, SPAR Austria’s supervisor board chairman, awarded honorary professor title

December 4, 2023 IN THE CATEGORY: Awards and prizes, People

  • From left to right: Dean Univ.-Prof. Dr. Annette Ostendorf, honorary professor Dr. Gerhard Drexel, Rector Univ.-Prof. Dr. Veronika Sexl and laudator Univ.-Prof. Dr. Oliver Coll. © SPAR/University of Innsbruck

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  • Dr. Gerhard Drexel © SPAR/Eva trifft. Fotografie

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At a ceremony on December 1, 2023, SPAR Austria supervisory board chairman Dr. Gerhard Drexel was awarded the title of honorary professor. The Leopold Franzens University of Innsbruck recognised Dr Drexel's twelve years of part-time teaching at the Faculty of Business Administration as well as for his successful and exemplary work as a board member of SPAR Austria. 

The honorary professorship award goes to excellent specialists who can demonstrate academic activity and have contributed to teaching at the University of Innsbruck, leaving a lasting impact.

During an academic ceremony, Univ. Prof. Dr. Oliver Koll, Professor of Marketing at the Institute for Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, praised Dr Drexel’s impressive career: “Through his decades of work as CEO and his chairmanship of the supervisory board of SPAR Austria, Dr. Gerhard Drexel has in-depth knowledge of strategic corporate management. In his work, he relied on the innovative power of SPAR’s own brands and led the company to market leadership for the first time in the history of Austrian retail.”

Koll continued about Dr. Drexel’s teaching at the University of Innsbruck: “By drawing on his comprehensive expertise and practical examples during his lectures, our students derive much benefit. By awarding the title of honorary professor, we are building a valuable bridge from theory to operational practice.”

Recognition and thanks

Dr. Gerhard Drexel received this high academic award with both gratitude and joy. He sees his future role as contributing to a lively exchange and building relationships between science and business and between universities and business practice. Dr. Drexel said: “Everyone should benefit from a focused collaboration between theory and practice: the university, the economy, and especially the students and prospective graduates.”

Career in retail

Dr. Gerhard Drexel completed his business administration studies at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) in Switzerland before moving to the Leopold Franzens University in Innsbruck for his doctoral studies. He was born into the retail sector through his father Luis Drexel, a founding member of SPAR in Austria. Dr. Gerhard Drexel led SPAR Austria as CEO for twenty years – from the beginning of 2001 to the end of 2020 – and during this time he shaped SPAR Austria’s successful private label architecture. In his last year as CEO, 2020, he saw SPAR become the market leader for the first time in the history of Austrian retail. At the beginning of 2021, Dr. Drexel retired from operational management and took over the chairmanship of the supervisory board of SPAR Austria.

Source: SPAR Austria

Read more about SPAR Austria.

About SPAR Austria

The origins of SPAR in Austria date back to 1954, but the current SPAR AG was created in 1970 when the original founding families joined other regional wholesalers to form SPAR Austria AG – a 100% privately owned Austrian company. With licences granted by SPAR International, ASPIAG (Austria SPAR International AG) has developed the brand in Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, and Northern Italy.


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