Our management

Gebr. Heinemann is overseen by the company owners Claus Heinemann and Gunnar Heinemann, who represent the fourth generation of the Heinemann family. Management is in the hands of the four Managing Directors: Kay Spanger (Purchasing, Logistics), Raoul Spanger (Retail, HR), Stephan Ernst (Finance, IT), and Peter Irion (Distribution).

The family business is managed by cousins Claus and Gunnar Heinemann since 1978

Born in Hamburg in 1950, Claus Heinemann accepted an apprenticeship in a bank after his sixth-form exams before going on to read for a degree in economics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. Over the next 18 months he gained vocational experience with companies in the tobacco and spirits fields in Neuchâtel and London. The son of Helmut Heinemann joined the family company in 1979 as a general partner and member of the Board of Directors. Claus Heinemann lives in central Hamburg with his wife and daughter. He is a devotee of classical music and spends his free time sailing, skiing and playing tennis.

Gunnar Heinemann was born in Hamburg in 1951. After sitting his school-leaving exams and completing his military service, he read for a degree in business economics at the University of Zurich, graduating in 1977. After spells in Paris and London, the son of Horst Heinemann joined the family firm late in 1978 as a general partner and member of the Board of Directors. Gunnar Heinemann is married with two grown-up sons. He loves almost all types of music, from pop to classical, and is also (in his own estimation) a keen and reasonably talented golfer.

Born in Hamburg in 1966, Stephan Ernst is the man at Gebr. Heinemann responsible for Finance and IT. After completing his school-leaving exams, he read for a degree in business economics (focusing on banking and financing) at the University of St. Gallen, graduating in 1993. He started his career in 1994 with the Otto Group, where he performed a range of roles until 2001 (including four years in international investment controlling and three years in a commercial coordination role involving five of the company’s joint ventures in Asia). Stephan Ernst joined Gebr. Heinemann as Head of Controlling in 2001 and went on to head the Finance division in 2007. As a member of the Board of Directors, he has been responsible for the Finance and Controlling divisions since 2010 and the IT department since 2012. He is also the Managing Director of several holding companies and performs a number of Supervisory and Management Board roles. Stephan Ernst is married and the father of three children.

Peter Irion was born in 1969 and grew up in Mannheim; he completed a degree in business economics at the University of Mannheim, specialising in marketing and international management. He began his career in 1995 with Blaupunkt GmbH, a member of the Bosch Group.He subsequently spend time abroad, performing various marketing and sales roles in Madrid and London. Between 2001 and 2010 he headed the sales and export departments of two family-run companies as a Management Board member (firstly in the fashion sector and later in the packaging industry). Peter Irion assumed responsibility for Distribution at Gebr. Heinemann when he was appointed Executive Director in 2010. He is married and the father of two boys. In his free time he enjoys sports and travelling.

Born in 1958 in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Kay Spanger was raised in Bremen and Hamburg. He launched his career with Gebr. Heinemann as a trainee back in 1979. Kay Spanger was appointed Managing Director of the Purchasing and Logistics divisions in 1997. In progressing to his current position as Executive Director, he has experienced all of the roles and divisions that make up the company, including sales and distribution as well as retail. He is therefore one of the few people to have witnessed changes and developments in the sector as they happened. Kay Spanger met his wife at Gebr. Heinemann; the couple has two daughters. He also enjoys spending free time with his two dogs.

Raoul Spanger was born in 1961 and grew up in Bremen and Hamburg. After completing his secondary education in 1980, he undertook basic military service before training as a wholesale and export clerk. From 1986 onwards he performed managerial sales and purchasing roles for the Peek & Cloppenburg Group before moving to Gebr. Heinemann in Hamburg in 1989 as a Purchasing Manager for the accessories, luxury goods and gift item product groups. Having joined the Board of Directors in 1997, Raoul Spanger is responsible for the Group’s retail activities as well as the Human Resources division. The ardent supporter of the HSV football team lives in Hamburg with his wife and has five children.

Expansion since 1879

Among the global players of the Duty Free sector, Gebr. Heinemann is the only family-run business. We now have some 5,600 employees whose welfare is the personal concern of the company’s owners. Our headquarters are situated in the HafenCity area of Hamburg. In 2013 the company achieved consolidated turnover of 2.4 billion euros (turnover up 2.4% compared to 2012)

Here you can download the most recent figures and obtain an overview of our business areas.

Retail at a glance

In the retail sector, Gebr. Heinemann operates around 230 Heinemann Duty Free & Travel Value shops, fashion label boutiques under licence and concept shops at 64 airports in 28 countries. The company also runs shops at border crossings along with 22 shops aboard 12 cruise liners and two ferries. In 2013, we served 30 million customers across total sales space of approximately 77,000 square metres.

Distribution at a glance

More than a thousand retail customers in 100-plus countries take advantage of our distribution and advisory expertise when compiling ranges of branded goods tailored to the needs of specific markets and regions. We supply airports, airlines, ferries, cruise liners, border shops, downtown shops, duty-free zones, the military, ship’s chandlers, diplomatic missions and crew shops. 

Our product portfolio

Gebr. Heinemann’s product range comprises more than 1,500 international brands directly sourced from a thousand suppliers around the world. In spite of the large number, every single article is highly important to our business. Moreover, every product that we add to the range must meet one criterion above all else: it must have sufficient appeal that our retail consumers and distribution clients will repeatedly return to us as partners. Ultimately, we believe only brands that our customers appreciate are likely to sell well.  

Our product categories:

  • Perfumes and cosmetics
  • Fashion and accessories
  • Wines, spirits and Champagne
  • Confectionery and delicacies
  • Toys and souvenirs
  • Tobacco goods

Partnership beyond boundaries

For Gebr. Heinemann, Hamburg has always been the oft-cited gateway to the world. Today we maintain trade relations in many different countries across five continents, from our airport shop in Oslo to a sales office in Abu Dhabi, from the border shop in the Czech Republic to Heinemann Americas, our American branch in Miami.

To facilitate further healthy growth while breaking into new markets, Gebr. Heinemann will continue to conclude exclusive partnerships for the long term that are of benefit to both parties.

In the process we will combine our decades of experience in the travel retail market with established partners’ understanding of regional markets. At present Gebr. Heinemann works with 74 subsidiaries and holding companies in 37 countries at home and abroad. This is the basis on which we jointly develop effective solutions for distribution and retail.

Heinemann Asia Pacific: Applying hanseatic know-how to Asian markets

The particular expertise of Gebr. Heinemann on the global travel retail market has produced quite a number of success on emerging Asian markets too.

From its base in Singapore, our subsidiary Heinemann Asia Pacific maintains business relations in 13 different nations, having established an extensive network spanning from Indonesia to Myanmar. More than 50 staff members at the Head Office collaborate with strong local partners in the distribution and retail fields, capitalising on significant growth on what is currently the world’s most dynamic travel retail market.

Alongside our know-how and wealth of experience, clients in Asia value something regarded by our business partners in other parts of the world as a standard Gebr. Heinemann package: namely, no other distributor offers such a wide service portfolio in addition to goods deliveries. On request, architects, marketing experts and product range managers guide clients all the way – from initial shop plans and store openings to support communications during actual business operations.

Heinemann Americas – Our gateway to the American continent

Business is best acquired locally. Such was the principle we applied when we realigned the company to face Asia and established our subsidiary Heinemann Asia Pacific – and it holds true today.

The international cruise market is dominated by American shipping companies, so in order to expand our cruise liner business it was essential to set up an office of our own in the USA. In November 2013, Gebr. Heinemann consequently opened the subsidiary Heinemann Americas, Inc. in Miami. From this base, the company acts as a retail and distribution partner to organisations such as MSC Cruises, supplying its fleet in Miami, the Caribbean and South America. The continually growing team also supports cruise sector clients in matters of shop design, trade marketing and product selection. Establishing Heinemann Americas was a strategic milestone in terms of our profile in the USA – a profile we intend to raise in the years ahead.

At home in airports

We are represented at 64 international airports through more than 230 of our own Duty Free & Travel Value shops.

Distributor in many locations

On the international travel retail market, we supply around a thousand wholesale clients in more than 100 countries.