A lot has happened at DMAN in 34 years. These were the milestones:




In October 1989, DAMN is founded by the federal state of Lower Saxony and six shareholders from the local business community. Its mission: Qualify professionals and managers for success in international markets and thus strengthen Lower Saxony's foreign trade relationships. Manfred Gardyan, an experienced business manager, becomes the academy's first director. Together with his team, he will build up and develop DMAN’s business activities in the following years.


Here we go! DMAN starts its activities. The offices are located at Welfenallee 32 in Celle. Seven employees carry out 45 measures this year, including a long-term project with Hungary, 27 seminars for experts and managers from the former GDR, and 13 seminars for participants from the USSR.


DMAN develops the programme types "Celle Funnel" and "Celle Pyramid", multi-stage programmes that include seminars as well as internships lasting several months in German companies.


Klaus-Peter Wagenführ has been a trainer for DMAN since 1993. He has thus worked for the academy longer than all of the many lecturers who have conducted DMAN seminars over the years.


Deutsche Messe AG and Nord/LB become additional shareholders.


In July 1997, Russian President Boris Yeltsin suggests an extensive training programme for young business leaders. DMAN carries out the first two 3-month pilot projects of this "Yeltsin Initiative". Throughout the following years and decades, DMAN remains one of the training centres of this manager training programme, which now promotes further education of managers from Eastern Europe, Asia, North Africa and Latin America on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and GIZ.


DMAN offices move to prestigious rooms in Celle castle. 15 employees now work for the academy.

DMAN opens a representative office in Moscow, which also acts as the representation of the state of Lower Saxony in the Russian Federation. Until its closure in 2022, the office supports Lower Saxony companies in preparing to enter the market and in the search for suitable local business partners.

At the same time, DMAN has to cope with the rouble and economic crisis in Russia.


DMAN celebrates its 10th anniversary with a festive event and international guests.

The academy implements a three-year programme (“Leonardo da Vinci”) to train business consultants, with partner universities in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.


As part of its support programme for the states of the former Soviet Union (TACIS), the European Union supports the Manager Training Programme (MTP), the largest training programme ever funded by the EU up to that time. Between 2000 and 2004, three MTPs are announced. All three are won by an international consortium led by DMAN. During this time, DMAN also maintains a representative office in Kiev.

Expo 2000 is taking place in Hanover, a magnet also for the academy's seminar groups.


Manfred Gardyan retires, Dr Wilhelm Schäfer becomes the new academy director.

DMAN wins project funds from the World Bank for the qualification of young managers from Georgia. In the following years, they come to Germany and later to Hungary and the Czech Republic for company internships.


Ralf Othmer takes over as head of the academy. He previously gained international experience at well-known IT companies and Deutsche Messe AG.


The DMAN Business Pool is being launched in Moscow. It offers Lower Saxony companies interested in the Russian market a cost-effective infrastructure on site and comprehensive assistance with market observation and market development.


The DMAN representative office in Shanghai begins its work. Its mission is to establish contacts with Chinese companies, administrations, associations and chambers and to develop the cooperation with Chinese partner organisations. The representative office also acts as the representation of the state of Lower Saxony in China.

The global financial crisis will have an impact on DMAN's work in the following years.


DMAN founds its Russian subsidiary OOO "BMS", which organises import processing, invoicing on a rouble basis as well as certifications and product approvals in Russia for Lower Saxony companies on request.

DMAN's shareholder base expands to include four new shareholders, and the supervisory board also becomes larger.


On 27 October 2009, DMAN celebrates its 20th anniversary with a Russia-Lower Saxony Partnership Day, including lectures, a panel discussion, bilateral talks and a tour of the academy's rooms. At the ceremony in the evening, Prime Minister Christian Wulff delivers the keynote speech.


At DMAN, a massive decline in orders leads to months of short-time work, but due to some large orders at the end of the year, almost half of the planned turnover can be realised in the fourth quarter.


"The future is boundless – with intercultural competence to success" - this is the topic of a free DMAN one-day seminar, where trainees of local companies have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the specifics of intercultural business life. The successful event is repeated in 2013 and 2014.


NiedersachsenMetall and DMAN open their joint series of the “Celle Castle Talks” on 21 February 2013 with an event on "Intercultural Competence". A total of seven events will be organised until 2019 – when the Covid pandemic begins.

MENA and India are added as new target regions with a dedicated project manager.


In February/March 2014, DMAN organises a seminar for decision-makers from Vietnam for the first time.

Russia annexes Crimea. However, most Russian partners and clients continue to cooperate with DMAN.


As part of the Manager Training Programme, DMAN receives a group of participants from Mexico for the first time in June 2015.

DMAN receives the FaMi Award 2015 as a particularly family-friendly company.


DMAN expands its cooperation with the Chinese province of Shandong. 15 mayors from Shandong come to Celle for training.

In cooperation with AHK Iran, DMAN offers specialist seminars in Tehran for the first time.


Harald Becker, who has been responsible for the academy's operative business in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Gulf States since 2013, becomes the new managing director of DMAN. He succeeds Ralf Othmer, who died in November 2016.

With its Open Academy, DMAN now also offers open seminars for which managers can register individually. "Strategic management and marketing for global markets" is the topic of the first summer academy in August 2017.

In May 2017, DMAN embarks on a market exploration tour of the Baltic States.

A seminar programme for Ukrainian doctors is organised in Kiev and Celle.


Since 2018, the academy offers individual coaching to its seminar participants. In parallel, it develops the programme "Leadership by Coaching", targeting women in leadership positions.


On 29 October 2019, the academy celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding with an event on artificial intelligence (AI) in the Knights' Hall of Celle Castle. Around 150 guests from Germany and abroad attend the event and the subsequent ceremony.

In June 2019, DMAN receives a seminar group from Tanzania for the first time.


DMAN responds to the Covid pandemic:

From March 2020, it offers its seminars as online trainings, for participants from Colombia, Tanzania, Iraq and China. The seminars of the Manager Training Programme also take place virtually in 2020.

DMAN makes its rooms available to interested parties for "safe meetings in the castle" - with minimum distance, a comprehensive hygiene concept and compliance with all Corona rules.


In April 2021, Dr Volker Müller takes over as Chairman of the DMAN Supervisory Board, of which he has already been a member since 2008.

In 2021, most of the seminars still take place as online formats, e.g. for professionals and managers from Iran, Tunisia and East Africa.

Under the title "Fit for Female Leadership", the academy starts to offer programmes for the personal development and empowerment of women aspiring to leadership positions in the profession.


Alexander Wurst takes over the position of Academy Director and Managing Director of DMAN on 1 January 2022. Previously, the experienced manager headed the International Trade Fairs Division at Deutsche Messe AG. He replaces Harald Becker who retired at the end of 2021.

Following Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and the resulting sanctions, DMAN stops all activities with Russia and Belarus, losing a large part of its turnover overnight – and for the foreseeable future.

"Africa - New Market. New Opportunities": At the invitation of DMAN, more than 60 guests from business, politics and administration meet in June 2022 to exchange experiences on business opportunities on the African continent.


DMAN responds to the current challenges by optimising its portfolio, including new topics and new target countries, such as Poland and Ukraine. Many of these initiatives look promising, but are not yet profitable.

In June, the state government of Lower Saxony, DMAN's largest shareholder, decides to discontinue its support for the academy. As no other shareholder is willing to take over the state's shares (50.68%), the academy will cease its operational business activities at the end of 2023 and go into liquidation on 1 January 2024.