After the Second World War, he completed two internships with the Jewel Tea company in Chicago and the Alpha-Beta company in La Habra, California, before returning to Germany to study economics at the University of Hamburg.
He joined the family business in 1963. Upon the death of his uncle Karl Schmitz-Scholl in March, 1969 he became the group's managing director. In 2000 he handed the position over to his son Karl-Erivan, and joined the supervisory board.
The Helga Otto Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming is named for Erivan Haub's wife, Helga.
Haub concentrated the Tengelmann group business on the retail trade. Under his guidance Tengelmann expanded: in 1971 it took over the grocery chain Kaiser's; in 1972 Haub founded the discount grocery retailer Plus. In the following years, Tengelmann focused on the development of its international business, which led to the 1979 takeover of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company.