Dr. Donatus Kaufmann

Strategic Executive GRC Advisor, Competition Advisor and Arbitrator

Our founder, Dr. Donatus Kaufmann, is a qualified lawyer admitted as attorney-at-law to the German Bar Association. He has a proven track record and decades of experience as an executive board member and C-suite leader in multinational, DAX-listed companies and family-owned enterprises. He is also well-known as a governance, risk management, compliance and competition expert, key opinion leader, and trusted executive advisor. He brings a unique combination of strategic GRC, senior legal, management and commercial experience working with regulators and enforcement agencies in the US and the EU.

Dr. Kaufmann has extensive knowledge and understanding of legislation and legal cultures across jurisdictions, particularly the US, EU, and UK, and practical, hands-on experience working at board level for multinational corporations. As a result, he can guide far-reaching institutional reform to help firms address historic misconduct and establish effective and robust compliance programs and internal control systems.

Dr. Kaufmann only takes on senior legal roles. These include, for example: Strategic Executive GRC and Competition Advisor to boards and executive leadership such as Group General Counsels and Chief Compliance Officers; mandates as an Independent US / UK Compliance Monitor or Independent US Compliance Consultant; Interim Chief Compliance Officer and Arbitrator in international commercial big-ticket arbitration cases.


“Compliance is a question of mindset.”

While a member of the executive board at DAX-listed thyssenkrupp AG, Dr. Kaufmann fundamentally changed the corporation’s culture, fostering good corporate governance and effective and efficient risk management across the group on a global scale.

Before joining thyssenkrupp, Dr. Kaufmann led similar reform at METRO AG as the multinational trade company’s Group General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. In the same roles in the early days of compliance, he established a comprehensive compliance management system for Boehringer Ingelheim Group, the biggest privately held pharma company worldwide.


“A legal expert of high renown.”

Dr. Kaufmann also has a breadth of experience in strategic competition issues and international commercial arbitration. He has served as Group General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and board member for Legal and Compliance for various multinational companies. In addition, he held the Chair of the Committee on Competition Order for the BDI, the German Industry Association. When with Metro AG, he successfully represented the firm as a plaintiff before the arbitration tribunal in the multi-billion shareholder dispute on the control of Media Saturn.


“A reputation to be discreet and competent.”

Dr. Kaufmann is known for his unerring judgment, influence, discretion, and diplomacy. He builds a rapport with everyone he meets and creates an environment of trust and mutual respect, in which he effectively communicates difficult messages. He has a clear view of what needs to be done to realize change and remains focused on the results his role is there to achieve.

Donatus Kaufmann independent compliance monitorships

Sector Experience

Pharma, telecom, car component industry, elevators and escalators, defense, steel, EPC plant construction (chemistry, mining, cement), insurance, real estate, trade (metals, non-metals and raw materials; food and non-food; consumer electronics).


Fluent in German, English and French

Geographic Areas

Europe, US, China, India, Russia, Southeast Asia, South America, Near and Middle East.

Roles and Responsibilities

Executive board member, supervisory board member, group general counsel, and chief compliance officer for multinational corporations.

Lead responsibility for the areas: ethics and integrity, cultural change, governance, risk management, internal control systems, compliance, legal, internal audit, and competition and anti-trust issues.

Global responsibility for the functions: legal, compliance, innovation, digital transformation, technology, operational excellence, sustainability and environmental protection, insurances, corporate real estate management, and family office.

Overall responsibility for North America and Western Europe business regions.

Chair of the Committee on Competition Order for the BDI, the German industry association.

Member of the executive committee and board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany.

He [Donatus Kaufmann] formerly came to tidy up at thyssenkrupp. For years the corporation from the Ruhr had arrested public attention with corruption and cartel allegations - Donatus was meant to regulate it. Obviously the executive board member for compliance succeeded in it.

Source: Handelsblatt 07.08.2019

The success [at thyssenkrupp] is also owed to Donatus Kaufmann, since 2014 Executive Board member for Legal and Compliance. It was the Swiss, who formerly was Group General Counsel at the pharma corporation Boehringer Ingelheim and at Metro AG, who enforced new groupwide structures in his area of responsibility.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 15.09.2017

With Donatus Kaufmann, CEO Heinrich Hiesinger [of thyssenkrupp] took into his leadership team a legal expert of high renown.

Source: Handelsblatt 04.05.2016

The new Executive Board Member [Donatus Kaufmann] of thyssenkrupp has the reputation to be discreet and competent.

Source: Handelsblatt 20.01.2014

’The appointment of Dr. Kaufmann is a clear signal that compliance is of utmost priority’, says Professor Dr. Hans-Ulrich Lehner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of thyssenkrupp.

Source: JUVE 17.01.2014

At the trade company [Metro] Kaufmann has acquired an immaculate reputation for appropriately addressing critical things. He’s not only concerned to abide by the law. He very much minds at the same time the ethical mindset of the employees.

Source: Handelsblatt 10.08.2015

Our structure and wider expert team

Kaufmann & Company is deliberately structured as a small senior legal team. This means we are a law firm that is small enough to guarantee independence, discretion, flexibility, cost-efficiency and a personal approach, yet with sufficient reach and breadth of expertise via our worldwide network of expert tier-1 partners to build a bespoke team able to support complex international mandates.

We have the necessary expertise, experience, global footprint and reach to help multinational companies take a proactive approach and foster GRC structures that will remedy misconduct and prevent it from happening in the future. We are also well equipped to execute complex international monitorships across jurisdictions.

We have exclusive access to a wide range of expert tier-1 partners in whichever country or region we work. We match people’s skills and expertise to the individual mandate to always put the ‘best team forward’ for the case.

On any mandate we can provide:

  • Strategic advice
  • Case-specific subject matter expertise
  • Specialist legal support
  • PMO function and support
  • IT function and support

Donatus Kaufmann knows the corporate and entrepreneurial issues that are critical to success. His background in a wide variety of industries, his experience in listed companies and family businesses, and his successful operation in both prosperous companies and crisis situations is a rare combination. He is battle-tested in the truest sense of the word, a quality that clients look for.

Jan Friedrich Kallmorgen, Founder and Managing Partner, Berlin Global Advisors.

Source: wall-street:online 03.02.2021