Ernst Klett d. Ä.
Ernst Klett senior
The origins of Ernst Klett AG date back to 1897, when the publishing house and printing shop Carl Grüninger Verlagsbuchhandlung/ Königl. Hofbuchdruckerei Gutenberg became a general partnership. Its partners were the businessman Ernst Klett and his brother-in-law, Julius Hartmann. The company has been family-owned ever since. Part of the plot of land on Rotebühlstrasse was acquired in 1899. In spring of 1900, Klett and Hartmann moved into the newly built house at Rotebühlstraße 77, where the company’s head office is located to this day.
Fritz Klett
Fritz joined the company in 1921. Together with his father Ernst Klett senior, he succeeded in expanding the publishing house and distribution and making the printing shop a successful medium-sized business. The two were also concerned about the social needs of their employees. For example, they set up an employee assistance fund which guaranteed workers and salaried employees financial support in old age or in the event of a grave illness – an initiative which was way ahead of its time. In 1928, the company began operating under the name "Ernst Klett Verlag Stuttgart". The humble beginnings of the regional textbook programme were expanded upon four years later: the publishing house took over the textbook department of the Bonz Verlag and became the largest supplier in Württemberg.
Ernst Klett junior
Ernst Klett junior joined the company in 1936. The focus on musicology was sidelined in favour of fiction and non-fiction works. In 1940, the printing house was able to secure a big contract, the telephone book of the regional post office, thus providing for the economic survival of the company and family during wartime. The company building on Rotebühlstraße was largely spared from the destruction of the war. To resume operation of the publishing house after the war, a license from the American military government was required. Klett obtained this license on 23 November 1945: in addition to the general publishing house, there was now an independent textbook publishing house, which quickly developed into one of the largest and most successful in Germany. Involved in this were a few former employees of the Teubner-Verlag, who brought with them both their expertise and important textbook licences of what was once the largest German textbook publishing house.
Roland Klett
On 8 February 1947, Ernst Klett senior died at the age of 84. On 9 June 1951, Fritz Klett succumbed to car-accident related injuries at the age of 55. His son Roland Klett joined the company in 1953 and initiated a push for modernisation at the printing shop. One of the results of this push was the construction of a new factory building in Korb from 1963 to 1967, where sales and distribution are handled to this day.
Michael Klett
Michael Klett, the eldest son of Ernst Klett junior, became a partner and member of the executive board in 1969. His younger brother Thomas Klett followed his lead in 1973. In 1976, Michael Klett replaced his father as director of the publishing house. The founding of the publishing house cooperative Klett-Cotta in 1977 made expansion of the fiction sector possible. Through further acquisitions, co-operations and startups, Klett expanded into a consortium with diversified business units. The printing shop, one of the traditional mainstays, was abandoned in 1989. Since then, Klett has operated almost exclusively as an educational company.
Thomas Klett
In 1990, Ernst Klett Verlag Leipzig became the first subsidiary of a West German publishing house in former East Germany. Ernst Klett GmbH & Co. KG, which was created in 1992, became a corporation in 1995. The business portfolio was subsequently restructured and more shares were taken over. Roland Klett was appointed chairman of the advisory board and was superseded two years later by Thomas Klett. Michael Klett was appointed CEO. The Klett Group expanded heavily abroad – in Switzerland, then Austria, Spain, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and the countries of the former Yugoslavia and Greece. Furthermore, the company founded the Deutsche Weiterbildungsgesellschaft (DWG) in 1994 and, under its aegis, established and expanded the field of distance learning schools and colleges.
The establishment of the Europäische Fernhochschule in Hamburg in 2001 and the Apollon Hochschule der Gesundheitswirtschaft in 2005 are milestones in the targeted development of the adult and continued education division. In recent years, further equity holdings have been added to educational institutions in the face-to-face division, which promote the development of the Klett Group to a diverse educational company.

Since 2007, Philipp Haußmann has been a Member of the Management Board. Philipp Haußmann, nephew of Michael Klett, is the fourth generation of the publishing family to be represented in the company. In 2009, Michael Klett exchanged his position as Chairman of the Management Board for that of Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

In 2015 Tilo Knoche has been announced Member of the Management Board. Since 2016 Lothar Kleiner has also been a Member of the Management Board alongside Philipp Haußmann (spokesperson of the Management Board) and Tilo Knoche.

For more than 100 years, the Klett Group has stood for economic success and innovation in the fields of education and culture. Employees and management in Germany and Europe will continue to build successfully on this solid foundation.
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  • As one of Europe’s leading educational companies, the Group is represented internationally in 16 countries.
  • The portfolio includes traditional and state-of-the-art educational media for day-to-day use in schools as well as lesson planning materials, specialist literature, and the classics.
  • In addition, the Klett Group operates many educational institutions, ranging from day-care centres to schools, right through to distance-learning schools, and universities for distance-learning and on-site-learning.