Matthias Hartmann, the CEO of GfK, is responsible for the corporate functions Strategy (Innovation and Digital), IT (Strategy, Enterprise- and Business Applications, Infrastructure), Top Management below the level of the Management Board (Development and Compensation), Integrity, Compliance and Intellectual Property, Internal Audit, Investor Relations and Marketing and Communications.
The GfK Group, established in 1934 as Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (Society for Consumer Research) is Germany's largest market research institute, and the fourth largest market research organisation in the world, after Nielsen Company, Kantar Group and Ipsos. It was founded by an association of university teachers, among them Ludwig Erhard, later Minister for Economics and Chancellor of Germany.
In April 2005 it acquired NOP World, based mostly in the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy, which was rated the ninth largest market research business in the world, a move described by the company as "the most important decision made by GfK since going public in 1999."
In December 2011, GfK acquired Knowledge Networks, based in Palo Alto, the United States, which does online research for consumer products and services, pharmaceuticals, retail, media, and public policy. KN's Dimestore platform offers unique platform for measuring the effectiveness of digital ad campaign with simple surveys of streaming video ads, that allows real-time reporting also.