The outcomes of the transformation of the GDR economy is described in regard to four topics: reproduction of managerial elites, due to functional necessities; short windows of opportunity of reaching a leading position at the top level of companies in the new economic order; fast role taking of the new managerial elites who often had a professional background as cadres in the socialist economy; and an accelerated change of social structure. The results refer to different surveys among entrepreneurs and executive of industrial firms in East and West Germany. The data were collected by the research project A2 “Economic elites in enlarged Europe” of the Collaborative Research Centre 580 at the universities of Halle and Jena, and they can additionally be compared with similar surveys among Polish and Hungarian respondents. The results are assessed in reference to three transformation paths which distinguished countries that have undergone after the collapse of the global socialist economic system. Eventually the relevance of the outcomes is considered for the North Korean case.