Born in Hamburg in 1926, he studied literary history and philosophy at the University of Hamburg and Fribourg, Switzerland, where in 1948, he received his doctoral degree. Afterwards, he worked first as an export merchant and individually liable member of Wiechers & Helm, Hamburg, the company of his father. Hans E. B. Kruse (†1968) was Chairman of Supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG 1933-1968. Hellmut Kruse became a member in 1961 first as an acting Board Member before he became a regular member in 1963. Positioned as an acting Chairman since 1975, from 1979 to 1989 he was Chairman of the Board. Afterwards from 1989 to 1994, he belonged to the Supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG.