KU Chancellor Thomas Kleinert to become Malteser’s CFO

A personnel change is imminent within the University Management of the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt: KU Chancellor Thomas Kleinert will leave the University. He will be taking on a senior position with the Malteser aid agency, an organization for which he had already worked before he came to the KU as Chancellor.  Thomas Kleinert will take over responsibility for the finance department in the Malteser’s headquarter for Germany on May 1,  2022. The 53-year-old will become managing director of Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V. and at the same time join the management boards of Malteser Deutschland gGmbH and Malteser Hilfsdienst gGmbH. The annual turnover of these organizations and its facilities recently reached about 1.5 billion euros. Malteser Germany is active in rescue and ambulance services, civil defense and disaster control, care for the elderly and the sick and is also known for its role in social work and in hospices and with refugees. The organization has around 33,000 full-time employees and 52,000 active volunteers nationwide.

Thomas Kleinert has been the KU’s Chancellor for almost ten years now. On June 1, 2012, he assumed the office within the University's Management. When the position of KU President became vacant in 2014, for several months he was solely responsible for leading the KU. As head of the administration, Kleinert played a key role in the successful development and reorientation of the University. As Chancellor, he is at the helm of several departments: HR, finance, facility management, study organization and the legal department. Within the University Management, the Sports Center and the University archives also fall in his domain. For several years, Thomas Kleinert has also been in charge of the topic of sustainability in the Presidium – a time in which the KU became the first university in Bavaria to be certified with the EMAS seal.

During his tenure, the number of KU employees has increased by around 20 percent to currently just over 900. This positive development was owed to the fact that the KU was able to double the amount of annual third-party funds and therefore create scientific project positions usually associated with funded projects. Secondly, the KU's administrative and service facilities were professionalized, in some cases reorganized in terms of personnel and structure, and expanded to include additional fields. These include, for example, the newly created service of personnel development and professional training.

During Thomas Kleinert's term of office, a process management system was established to uniformly document, analyze and optimize workflows and decision-making paths. The digitalization of the administration was also advanced to a great degree. Thomas Kleinert - and with him facility management staff - devoted enormous efforts to extensive maintenance and refurbishment projects as well as building leases in order to remedy the acute shortage of space on campus. At the same time, he and his team pressed ahead with the planning, preliminary work and coordination with the Bavarian state government for the upcoming general renovation of the KU's collegiate buildings.

Most recently, the authority of the KU’s administration was bolstered further by the revision of the Foundation's constitution, when numerous operational-administrative responsibilities were transferred from the Foundation’s administration to the University.

"For the entire University but also for me personally, the departure of Thomas Kleinert is a huge loss," said KU President Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gien. "We really were an unbeatable team, working door-to-door and exchanging ideas as often as we could." According to President Gien, the KU also owes much of its positive development in recent years to Kleinert and his goal-oriented work and strategic thinking. She especially appreciates his value-oriented leadership style and his calm and level-headed actions in the most difficult situations. "I will miss him very much not only professionally, but also on a personal level. I could not have asked for a better Chancellor. Nevertheless, I am proud that Thomas Kleinert will now hold such an important position. I sincerely wish him all the best for this new task."

The Chairman of the Foundation Council, Prof. Dr. Beer, said that the KU was losing “an important partner and counselor and a highly competent expert in the field of university management and finances”. He said that Kleinert had always been focused on the task at hand and had valued respectful communication. “The Foundation Council and its Chairman very much regret Kleinert’s resignation and thank him for the many years of successful and pleasant cooperation. I wish Mr Kleinert all the success he could ask for in his private life as well as his professional career.”

Barbara Loos, Chairwoman of the University Council, also deplored Chancellor Kleinert’s resignation: “It was always a pleasure to work with him. His cooperation was characterized by helpfulness and respect for his colleagues.” Barbara Loos also emphasized the great esteem she has for his competence. "It was always impressive how at University Council meetings he was able to explain even the most complicated facts and contexts, for example in the area of university finances, in a way that was comprehensible to everyone." In doing so, she said, he was always unobtrusive and unassuming. "Many of the improvements to the KU he was able to bring about by quietly working in the background without much fuss."

A university was not a company that strives to maximize profits, said the Chairman of the Senate, Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoffmann. "A chancellor must therefore always include a university's educational and research mission in his or her considerations, in addition to pure numbers and finances. I know of no university chancellor who has mastered this complex task as brilliantly as Thomas Kleinert," Hoffmann said. "In all negotiations and discussions, he was a competent and open participant whose word could always be relied upon and who always managed to find the best possible solution for all parties involved, even in the most difficult situations."

Thomas Kleinert was born in Erlangen in 1968. He is married and he and his wife have three grown-up children. After graduating in business administration in Stuttgart, Kleinert first worked for the software company DATEV as a team leader, department head and finally managing director of an IT subsidiary. He then worked for twelve years in management positions at the Malteser Order - first as diocesan managing director in Regensburg and Bamberg, then as regional managing director for the Bavaria/Thuringia subsidiary. He has remained loyal to the Maltesers even after he took on his current position at the KU and remains a member of the agency that delivers humanitarian aid worldwide.

The University will now search for a successor to Thomas Kleinert in a structured process. In keeping with the KU’s Basic Rules, the new Chancellor will then be appointed by the Chairman of the Foundation Council after being named by the President following a recommendation by the University Council.