Alexander Otto

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Alexander Otto has been the Chief Executive Officer of ECE since 2000. Under his leadership, ECE has advanced to become the European market leader in the shopping center sector. 

The company is active in 13 countries, now has roughly 3,400 employees and manages real estate valued at approximately 32.3 billion euros (i.e. assets under management). ECE is also one of the leading developers of major commercial properties in Europe, with a focus on offices, hotels, logistics centers, and retail properties.

Alexander Otto sits on the supervisory boards of the Otto Group, Deutsche EuroShop AG, and SITE Centers, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, as well as on the advisory board of Peek & Cloppenburg KG, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany. He is also a member of the board of the Harvard Business School Foundation of Germany.

Otto is the initiator and chair of the board of trustees of the “Lebendige Stadt” Foundation, which is dedicated to the revitalization of European city centers. Through the Alexander Otto Sports Foundation, Otto primarily supports athletic programs for young and disabled people in Hamburg and, in this context, has funded the construction of an ice rink

and ball sports arena as well as the youth training center for Hamburg’s HSV soccer club. Through the Dorit & Alexander Otto Foundation, he also funds medical and cultural projects, including the extensive modernization of the Hamburger Kunsthalle art gallery.

Alexander Otto was born in Hamburg in July 1967. Following his university qualification in Oxford, he studied at Harvard University and Harvard Business School before joining ECE in 1994.

Joanna Fisher

Managing Director Center Management

Joanna Fisher has been Managing Director for Center Management since 2014 and, in this capacity, is responsible for ECE’s portfolio business. She began her career at ECE in 1998 as a Center Manager at various locations in Germany and abroad, particularly in Eastern Europe.

In addition to the management and restructuring of numerous existing buildings, she was also responsible for the opening and market launch of new shopping centers. As Regional Director Center Management, she was responsible for the East and later the Southwest regions, including Switzerland, from 2011 to 2013. Subsequently, as Senior Director, she assumed responsibility for new markets and consequently for ECE development projects in countries such as Italy, Denmark, Turkey, and Qatar.

Joanna Fisher was born in Szczecin in 1973. She studied business administration at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt an der Oder, with a focus on marketing and controlling.

Steffen Eric Friedlein

Managing Director Leasing

Steffen Eric Friedlein has been responsible for leasing at ECE as Managing Director Leasing since 2018. He joined the company as a Leasing Manager in 1999. He became Regional Director for various regions in 2008 and Senior Director Leasing in 2013.
As Senior Director, he was initially responsible for the northern half of Germany as well as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Italy, and for leasing throughout Germany from 2014 onwards.

Steffen Friedlein was born in Stuttgart in 1968. After studying business administration at DHBW Stuttgart, he began his career at the Kriegbaum Group in Böblingen, most recently as Head of Leasing.

Robert Heinemann

Managing Director HR & Corporate Services

Robert Heinemann has been Managing Director for HR & Corporate Services since 2017 (Compliance & Data Protection, Corporate Communications, Corporate Insurance Management, Information Technology, Legal, Organizational Development, Sustainability & Internal Services).

His career at ECE began in the Corporate Communications department in 1999. He initially held the positions of Head of Department, Spokesperson, and then Director in 2006, before moving to Center Management in 2013, where, as Senior Director, he assumed responsibility for the operating activities of around 120 shopping centers in six countries. He was also Managing Director of various subsidiaries.

At the same time, Robert Heinemann was a member of Hamburg State Parliament for 11 years and is now an active member of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, HDE, the German Council of Shopping Centers, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Economic Council, and the board of the “Lebendige Stadt” Foundation.

Robert Heinemann was born in Hamburg in 1974. He began his career in the banking sector, working while also earning a degree in business administration from FernUniversität in Hagen. He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Henrie W. Kötter

Chief Investment Officer (CIO)/Managing Director Work & Live

Henrie W. Kötter has been Chief Investment Officer (CIO) since 2014. Since 2020, he has also been responsible as Managing Director for all investment and development activities in the Work+Live business segment.

During his more than fifteen-year career at ECE, Henrie W. Kötter was responsible for various areas within the ECE-Group both in Germany and abroad; as a member of the Management Board, he headed the Center Management division for four years and the project development and mergers and acquisitions business for six years.

Henrie W. Kötter, born 1974 in Bünde/Westphalia, completed his studies at the ebs European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, the Universidad de la Empresa in Buenos Aires and the Richard Ivey School of Business in London/Ontario. He is an active member of the ULI Urban Land Institute and is ULI Global Governing Trustee.


Claudia Plath

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Claudia Plath is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of ECE and, in this capacity, has been in charge of Asset Management, Corporate Finance, Accounting & Controlling, and Risk Management since 2013.

She joined ECE as a Controller in 1996. After three years as a team leader, she became Director responsible for controlling for the property companies and ECE in 2004. In her most recent prior position as Senior Director Asset Management, she was in charge of commercial management and support for all of the company’s German and international shopping centers.

Claudia Plath was born in Freital near Dresden in 1971. She studied business administration at Technische Universität Berlin and worked for property management firm Bayrische Immobilienverwaltung in Berlin during her studies.

Arndt Schwerdtfeger

Managing Director Architecture & Construction

Arndt Schwerdtfeger has been responsible for the Architecture & Construction division since October 2020. He started his career at ECE in 2007 as a project manager and took on various project management tasks in Germany and abroad. In 2014, he was appointed Deputy Director Design Excecution at ECE, followed by the appointment as Director Project Management in 2015.

Arndt Schwerdtfeger was born in Zwickau/ Saxony in 1975 and studied architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Wismar - University of Applied Sciences for Technology, Economics and Design. After completing his studies he worked in various positions for Ernst & Young / Prof. Weiss & Partner Projektsteuerungsgesellschaft mbH in Berlin.

Parallel to his professional activities, Arndt Schwerdtfeger has completed further training as a graduate real estate economist, is a Professional Member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) and has completed training as a Professional and Agile Coach. Currently Arndt Schwerdtfeger is completing a Master of Business Administration in Management and Real Estate.