Foundation board

The Board of foundation determines the strategic direction of the foundation's work. The individual members of the Board act as important advisors depending on their area of ​​expertise in the operative business.

Kathrin Succow


Kathrin Succow is a gardener with a diploma from the Humboldt University Berlin and a certified PR consultant. Since 1999 she has been supporting the establishment of her father's foundation, served as its first director and is a member of the board since 2004. Since January 2021 she has been the chairwoman of the foundation board as the successor to the founder. She has many years of management experience in the fields of foundations, associations, nature conservation and large protected areas as well as in business and self-employment. For example, since September 2022 she has headed the specialist group for foundation fundraising at the German Fundraising Association.

Since 2020 Kathrin Succow is self-employed in supporting companies, foundations and teams in change situations with a focus on sustainability and responsibility. Before that she was managing director of an international business club in Munich for four years and from 2013 to 2019 owner of the foundation and succession consultancy Ditare et Donare in Munich and Berlin. From 2007 to 2012 she was general manager and director of the foundation unit for the private bank Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers KGaA, later Merck Finck & Co. Privatbankiers and several years managing director of the Hauck & Aufhäuser Culture Foundation.

Before, Kathrin Succow was in charge of the Association of German Foundations' media and communications unit. After directing the public relations of regional nature protection administrations in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern from 1991 to 1996, she directed the nature experience centre Blumberger Mühle until 2004.

Prof. Dr. Hans Dieter Knapp

Dep. Chair

Prof. Dr. Hans Dieter Knapp is geo-botanist and landscape-ecologist. He is one of the initiators of the Eastern German national park program and the International Academy for Nature Conservation Island of Vilm. Until his retirement he has been director of this branch office of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. As an honorary professor he also lectures at the Greifswald University.

He initiated the “European Beech Forest Initiative”, he was instrumental in the nomination of beech forests of Germany and Europe to the World Heritage List of UNESCO and involved in further nominations in Russia, Mongolia, Iran and Georgia. His focus within the foundation lies on projects of international cooperation in Eurasia. 

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joosten

Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Joosten is peatland and landscape ecologist, professor for Peatland Studies and Palaeoecology and director of the working group on Peatland Studies and Palaeoecology at the University of Greifswald. The working group hosts the general secretariat of the  International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG). Prof. Dr. Hans Joosten is general secretary of this international organisation for peatland protection.

Within the foundation, he is in charge of the connection to the University of Greifswald's Institute for Botany and Landscape Ecology, he supervises the scientific quality and integrity, and establishes contact with international peatland and climate protection science as well as climate protection policy.

Dr. Hartmut Kretschmer

As a biologist, Dr. Hartmut Kretschmer was engaged in agro-ecological research for many years. In 1997 he became deputy director of the State Institute for Protected Areas in Brandenburg and later head of the Department of Protected Areas in the State Environmental Agency until his retirement. He was mainly involved in the implementation and design of the large-scale protected area programme for Brandenburg, for which amongst others Michael Succow had previously laid an essential basis.

He is one of the co-founders of NABU Brandenburg, and was its 1st chairman for many years. Today, he is still active on the board. Hartmut Kretschmer has been particularly involved in the transfer of federal nature conservation areas to nature conservation foundations and associations in Germany largely free of costs. He continuously advises on the management of such areas in Brandenburg. Dr. Kretschmer has been a member of the foundation's advisory board since 2019.

Rolf Seelige-Steinhoff

Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Kfm. Rolf Seelige-Steinhoff is managing partner of SEETELHOTELS. He completed his degree in electrical engineering and his degree in business administration at RWTH Aachen University. He lives on the Island of Usedom since 1992, where he and his family founded the SEETELHOTELS, which today consists of 17 hotels, villas and residences, as well as a hotel on Mallorca. Progress and innovation are part of the philosophy of Seelige-Steinhoff and so he founded the International Hotels & Resorts GmbH in 2018 together with his business partner Walter C. Neumann.

Rolf Seelige-Steinhoff has been a friend of the Succow family and the Michal Succow Foundation for many years. The development of the Kinderresort Usedom project was also accompanied by Prof. Dr. Michael Succow. Seelige-Steinhoff is now supporting the Foundation Board in the analysis, especially the economic analysis, in strengthening the formalities, in legal issues and contributes his extensive network.

Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow

Founder and honorary member

With his engagement Michael Succow has not only been empowering nature but also inspiring many people.

read more about Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow

Ulla Succow

Honorary member †

Ulla Succow, a graduate biologist and wife of the founder, was an active member of the Succow Foundation's Board of Trustees from its inception until 2007 and shaped its work. From 2008 until her death, she continued to support the development of the foundation as an honorary member. She was the good soul of our foundation, always benevolent and supportive of our concerns with sensitivity and an overarching view. On November 30, 2021, Ulla Succow, mother of our current foundation board chair Kathrin Succow, passed away.



Dr. Lebrecht Jeschke

Honorary member

Dr. Lebrecht Jeschke is a well-known Greifswald biologist. Together with Hans Dieter Knapp, Matthias Freude and Michael Succow he developed the national park programme, which is meanwhile considered exemplary worldwide. He directed Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's National Park Administration from 1991 to 1998.

Until the age of 70, he was an active member of the foundation board. Since then, he is a honorary member with expertise on forest issues and nature conservation areas in Germany.



Dr. Lutz Fähser

Honorary member

Dr. Lutz Fähser was a member of the Foundation board until he was 75 years old. Until his retirement at the end of 2009, he headed the Lübeck City Forestry Office, where he introduced the social-ecological concept of "near-natural forest use" in 1994.

Lutz Fähser received his doctorate in forestry business administration in Freiburg i.Br. in 1977 and was forestry office manager in the state, municipal and private services. He has also been active in around 30 development projects on all continents. On the side, he supports local citizens' initiatives in Germany that would like to see forests managed in a different way that is closer to nature.

In the Michael Succow Foundation, he was jointly responsible for all projects in which forests are an important component.