Michael Behrendt studied Law at the University of Hamburg and completed his academic education with the second state examination (Assessorexamen) at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht).
During his studies Michael Behrendt gained practical experience in different companies across the USA. He joined VTG Vereinigte Tanklager und Transportmittel GmbH in 1985, where he was appointed Managing Director in 1994. In 1999 Michael Behrendt became Chairman of the Executive Board of VTG-Lehnkering AG, which was formed in the course of the merger with Lehnkering AG, and concurrently became member of the Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG. Starting in January 2002 until end of June 2014 he served as the Chairman of the Executive Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG. As of the closing of the acquisition of the CSAV container shipping activities by Hapag-Lloyd AG, Michael Behrendt took over the position as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Hapag-Lloyd AG.
Michael Behrendt was President of the German Ship Owners Association (Verband Deutscher Reeder) from November 2008 until the end of 2014 and in addition serves as President of the Übersee-Club in Hamburg and as a member of many supervisory and advisory boards.