The Award


The Award is given to outstanding entrepreneurial personalities who demonstrate an exceptional talent for innovation, create and transform markets, shape culture, and also face their social responsibility.



The winner is selected by the executive board of Axel Springer SE, following suggestions by employees and, in the future, also from the public. The Award will be presented annually from this year onwards


Mark Zuckerberg received the Award on 25 February 2016 at a ceremony at the Axel Springer group headquarters in Berlin. The Axel Springer Award is a non-monetary prize.

“An evening for Mark Zuckerberg”

Bill Gates’ Video Message for Mark Zuckerberg

Bill Gates congratulated Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg on launching the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: "Mark and Priscilla are leading the way for a new generation of philanthropists. This generation is applying its entrepreneurial spirit, talents and energy to achieving goals once thought impossible: inventing new medicines, reducing poverty and hunger, and making sure every child has an education."

Special Newspaper

Instead of a typical award trophy, a joint editorial team by B.Z., Berlin’s largest newspaper, and Business Insider Germany produced a special newspaper about the Award, which was given to Zuckerberg as a gift. Besides numerous pictures from the event, the publication – which carried the look of Business Insider – also featured a profile of Mark Zuckerberg, written by Henry Blodget, editor-in-chief of Business Insider. The newspaper was distributed among the guests of the event during the evening.

Photos of the Evening

The 200 guests who joined the award ceremony experienced unique perspectives on the life and work of the awardee, who attended the event in person, together with his wife Priscilla.


Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg (31) is the first recipient of the newly established Axel Springer Award. Mark is the CEO of Facebook, which he founded in 2004. He is responsible for setting the overall direction and product strategy for the company. He leads the design of Facebook’s service and development of its core technology and infrastructure. Mark attended Harvard University and studied computer science before moving the company to Palo Alto, California.
Mark Zuckerberg

“We are presenting the award to Mark Zuckerberg because with Facebook, he has created the most significant communication medium in a generation. Facebook has transformed and enriched our culture, while also posing new challenges. Anyone, at any time, can talk about whatever they want to a wide audience. But how is this power to be used responsibly? Mark Zuckerberg is intensively engaging with this issue. Facebook has become an important distribution channel for the media industry. And the company is developing new options for treating creatives and their publishers fairly. The aim of our award is to encourage Mark to continue down this road, regardless of any opposition he might face.”

Mathias Döpfner
Mathias Döpfner CEO Axel Springer SE

Press Center

Picture Gallery

All photo material may be used free of charge for coverage of the Axel Springer Award. Please observe copyright (c) Axel Springer

View from the Roof

Video Gallery

Press Release: Award Day

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