Who will be the new face of the car industry?

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WHe becomes the new president of the German Automobile Association (VDA) and thus the chief lobbyist of the most important German industry? It should be someone from politics, there are the companies agree, two favorites were looked at: Hildegard Müller (CDU) and Sigmar Gabriel (SPD).

Georg Meck

Georg Meck

Responsible editor for economics and "Money & More" of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Those who are preferred by the two, the corporations are still in the clinch, but the two names are confirmed by several parties. Both have political instincts, and this is an important criterion after the unfortunate experiences with VDA President Bernhard Mattes. The former Ford boss had been chalked up lack of political sense, which caused him to fail so quickly. Mattes announced his withdrawal during the International Motor Show in September. At the turn of the year, he is gone, so the time is urgent to present a successor.

The formal decision is made by the VDA board in the first week of November, previously led by the board, in the person of Daimler CEO Ola Källenius and family entrepreneur Arndt Kirchhoff, the authoritative talks with the two candidates. The profile for the post to be filled is difficult: the CEOs have to accept him or her, but at the same time he or she should not be too self-confident.

For Sigmar Gabriel, born in 1959, speaks his experience in the auto industry, after all, he was as Prime Minister of Lower Saxony at the time VW Supervisory Board. "Gabriel knows our industry, he was a good economics minister and would be a good choice for the VDA," praised him now a car executive, but Gabriel has disturbed in the course of his long career, even some.

Hildegard Müller (right) loads with other politicians a power car


This provokes resistance in individual corporate headquarters, especially since it is not clear how much the post really appeals to him. Although a VDA President earns more than the Federal Chancellor, a career from the former Vice-Chancellor to the lobbyist can not necessarily be read as a rise. And then the question is: what use the car industry, the contacts of a former SPD chairman, if his party will not govern in the foreseeable future?

Argument of power

This power argument speaks for Hildegard Müller, born in 1967 and since youth days in the CDU active. Another trump is their gender. A woman at the top do not trust the motorists the least, that could be sold as a departure, especially since the competencies of Muller are undisputed. The trained bank clerk (with a degree in business studies) was once the first woman at the head of the Junge Union, then a member of the Bundestag and finally the State Ministry in the Chancellery under Angela Merkel. In 2008 she changed sides, became head of the industry association of the energy and water industry.

Nobody has to explain how lobbyism works. As in corporations it is not. Most recently, Müller acted on the board of the energy company Innogy. She came into contact with the automakers via the electromobility and the construction of the charging stations. Now that Innogy becomes part of Eon, the local board becomes redundant. Müller needs a new job. When asked if she sees them in the cars, she emails that she now wants to relax on vacation. A denial is not. There will be enough time to relax before the turn of the year.

(TagToTranslate) Hildegard Müller (t) Sigmar Gabriel (t) Bernhard Mattes (t) Ola Källenius (t) Arndt Kirchhoff (t) VDA (t) CDU

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