The not-for-profit CHE Centre for Higher Education was founded in 1994 on the initiative of Reinhard Mohn and Professor Dr. Hans-Uwe Erichsen, former president of the German Rectors' Conference. Since then the CHE shareholders have been the Bertelsmann Foundation and the German Rectors' Conference Foundation. Long-standing managing director Professor Dr. Detlef Müller-Böling handed over management of the CHE to Dr. Jörg Dräger and Professor Dr. Frank Ziegele in August 2008.
The CHE takes decisions on issues and projects independently and autonomously. The Bertelsmann Foundation provides about half of the overall budget of around three million euros per annum.
The CHE promotes a versatile scientific system that, amid changing conditions, offers optimal and differentiated development opportunities to anyone who wants to participate in it and benefit from it. For their part, higher education and research institutions should use and shape their autonomy, develop and implement diverse profiles, and assume their societal responsibility.