Awards and Distinctions

Innovation and responsibility


Susanne Baumann-Söllner, WU alumna and CEO of IAKW-AG, has been honored for her innovative management accomplishments.

Susanne Baumann-Söllner, holder of a WU degree in business education, has been named WU Manager of the Year 2023. She received this award from WU yesterday, December 6, 2023, in recognition of her innovative management accomplishments as board spokeswoman of IAKW-AG, the company that operates the Austria Center Vienna.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Austria Center Vienna housed Austria’s largest vaccination and testing center. A pilot project by Susanne Baumann-Söllner laid the logistical groundwork for this great achievement – providing impressive proof that public-sector companies are perfectly capable of implementing innovative solutions very quickly.

As part of the WU Manager of the Year 2023 award ceremony at WU, Baumann-Söllner offered insights into the current challenges facing the events industry. She stressed that it is important to “make careful decisions, while also maintaining the courage needed to adapt and change.” This is how Susanne Baumann-Söllner describes her management style: “Managers have a lot of responsibility for a lot of people – both within their companies and beyond. This means that you have to take great care when making decisions. At the same time, however, you should also be ready to keep evolving and developing day by day.”

Honoring exceptional management achievements and commitment

“With the WU Manager of the Year award, we honor WU alumni who have distinguished themselves by their exceptional management performance,” explains WU Rector Rupert Sausgruber. “In her capacity as CEO of IAKW, Susanne Baumann-Söllner implemented an innovative and bold project at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, which also involved a collaboration with WU. As a pilot project, thousands of WU students were mass-tested to attend a face-to-face course at the Austria Center Vienna. This laid the foundation for setting up Austria’s largest testing and vaccination center – a landmark achievement for the entire community.”  

“It’s a great honor to be named WU Manager of the Year!” says Susanne Baumann-Söllner. “True to our mission, we want to be more than administrators, we also want to be innovators. Therefore, it makes me very proud that WU is honoring a public-sector company. This recognition not only confirms our success, but also the success of many other public-sector companies that are committed to innovation,” she points out.

Susanne Baumann-Söllner has the following piece of advice for WU students: “Have the courage to realize your visions and dreams, and if you experience any setbacks, don’t let that stop you.”

Rector Rupert Sausgruber and Susanne Baumann-Söllner

Rector Rupert Sausgruber and Susanne Baumann-Söllner

About Susanne Baumann-Söllner

Susanne Baumann-Söllner was appointed spokeswoman of the board of IAKW-AG (Internationales Amtssitz- und Konferenzzentrum Wien) 11 years ago. After completing her studies at WU and working as a tax consultant, she continued her career as a tax expert at the Austrian Ministry of Finance. In 2012, she was appointed to the board of IAKW-AG, the company that manages the Vienna International Center and the Austria Center Vienna.

WU Manager of the Year Award

The WU Manager of the Year award, introduced in 1993, is WU’s way of honoring executives who are WU alumni and have shown outstanding enthusiasm and vision in pushing forward the development of their own companies and the economy as a whole. In the last few years, the WU Manager of the Year award was presented to leaders such as tech manager Christopher Schläffer, museum director and art manager Max Hollein, Anette Klinger, the managing director of IFN Holding, Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek, and Silvia Angelo, board member of ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG.

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