In memory of Dr Dr h.c. Jörn Kreke

It is with deep regret and sincere sadness that we bid farewell to Dr Jörn Kreke, one of the most renowned and influential personalities in the perfumery industry, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 83. As a long-standing member of the board of the German Perfumery Association and founder of the European market leader Douglas, Dr Kreke had a decisive influence on the perfumery industry and led it to unimagined successes.

Jörn Kreke’s name is inextricably linked with the development of the former Hussel confectionery shops into the internationally active DOUGLAS Group. Under his leadership, the company, which in addition to the Douglas perfumeries also included Thalia bookstores, AppelrathCüpper women’s fashion stores and, until 2014, even Christ jewellery shops and Hussel confectionery shops, developed into a genuine specialist retail group.

It was Jörn Kreke’s innovative methods and personal commitment that established the success of the Douglas perfumeries in Europe. Today, the Douglas brand alone generates sales of around 4.1 billion euros with around 1,900 perfumeries and online stores in 26 countries and 18,000 employees. We are deeply grateful to Dr Kreke for his outstanding contribution to the expansion and success of the perfumery industry.

Dr Jörn Kreke was as remarkable as he was likeable, and his winning manner resonated with employees, business partners and customers alike. His personality not only opened doors to success for him, but also contributed significantly to the positive development of the perfumery industry. We fondly remember his tactful and professional manner, which made him a trustworthy and valued personality.

Jörn Kreke’s outstanding achievements began early on. As a thoroughbred retailer, he was always on the lookout for promising retail strategies, and so it was that in 1969 he had the idea of entering the perfumery business. With the acquisition of the Douglas and Hanhausen perfumeries in 1969, he laid the foundations for a unique retail success story.

Dr Kreke recognised the opportunities of internationalisation and the importance of consistent customer and service orientation at an early stage. Under his leadership, the Douglas perfumeries successfully entered the international arena. In recent years, the position of the Douglas perfumeries as Europe’s largest perfumery chain has been further expanded and consolidated through strategic acquisitions in various European countries, including France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Eastern Europe.

In addition to his business successes, Dr Jörn Kreke always had the well-being of people at heart. His motto “Trade with heart and mind” was his lived philosophy. His continuous support of the company motto “Management by walking around” showed how important it was to him to be close to his employees and customers. He firmly believed that only well-trained, highly motivated and happy employees could operate successfully. For this reason, training and further education were always of particular importance at Douglas.

In 2001, Dr Jörn Kreke handed over the chairmanship of the Douglas Holding Executive Board to his son Dr Henning Kreke, but remained involved as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. His expertise and advice were always valued and sought after, even after his retirement from the Supervisory Board in 2015 as an honorary member.

[Text: epcnews/Photo: Douglas]