After completing his business administration studies at the University of Münster, Gerd Hartwig began working in the human resource department of the Oetker headquarters in Bielefeld in 1976. In 1980, he became global head of human resources at Weidmüller in Detmold. He then moved to Deutsche Postbank AG in 1994 as Director of Human Resources, where he led the human resources department; as a member of the Management Board, he was also responsible for the treasury of the Post-Pension Fund.
After his move in June 2004, Gerd Hartwig was appointed Executive Vice President of the CLAAS Group where he was also responsible for the Group's Human Resources, and played a key role in the worldwide personnel and organizational expansion and change at CLAAS until his retirement on March 31st 2018. He continues to work for CLAAS as a consultant. In addition, he is involved in supervisory boards and committees of employers' associations, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, universities and the Regional Labor Court of Cologne.