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Federal election 2021: The greenest CEOs in the republic


After the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the focus is now on the federal elections. Will the Greens soon turn the German economy inside out? In some corporate boardrooms, they are likely to break open doors.

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The mighty in the automotive country:

Baden-Württemberg's Green Prime Minister

Winfried Kretschmann

(l) and Daimler boss

Ola Källenius

(in September 2020 at the opening of the new Sindelfingen plant for the Mercedes S-Class)

Photo: Lennart Preiss / Getty Images

Do we get black and green, as priced in for months in the political betting market - or do we get a traffic light coalition, possibly even with the green light above?

The state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate set the first point in the super election year 2021. The current weakness of the CDU makes the Greens appear even stronger.

There is almost no question that you will be part of the government after the federal election in September.

They may even set the course for the German economy.

Daimler boss

Ola Källenius

(51) shouldn't be frightened by that.

In Stuttgart, where the Green

Winfried Kretschmann

(72) has been Prime Minister since 2011, the relationship has long been harmonious.

In the home country of the auto industry, there was still a lot of unrest when Kretschmann said, "Of course, fewer cars are better than more".

It is now difficult to say who has moved more, in any case no sheet fits between the green country father and the Daimler boss.

Källenius, whose predecessor

Dieter Zetsche

(67) broke a taboo as a speaker at a Green Party conference in 2016, wants to electrify every second car in his group by 2030.

His view that many heavy, high-horsepower combustion engines must first be sold in order to finance the change is shared in the State Chancellery.

In a pinch, Kretschmann personally provides the last line of defense for SUVs in the public debate.

When the CEO was to

debate the

IAA 2019 auto show with Green Party leader

Robert Habeck

(51), they did not find any substantive differences.

Källenius even seemed to be calling for a stricter eco-regiment: The industry also needs "a strong push".

Definitely more needs to happen in the energy transition - so as not to undermine the triumphant advance of electric cars.

Because "it's bullshit if we don't fill up with green electricity".

So it can now be heard from most executive floors.

Even corporations that have long resisted government ecological standards are now betting their future on it.

A party preference cannot necessarily be deduced from this, and certainly not a personal one.

Climate protection is more or less on the agenda of all established parties anyway, internationally anyway.

After that, the CEOs acted.

And now they are most likely to trust the Greens to politically secure the course they have chosen so that the green investments do not become ruins.

Open to technology?

Not with Herbert Diess

Volkswagen boss

Herbert Diess

(62) has put the Wolfsburg organization entirely at the service of electrification.

The current investment plan binds 35 billion euros by 2025 on the assumption that battery vehicles are the future.

The greatest fear of corporate strategists is that doubts will arise after all.

They therefore react allergically to catchphrases such as "open to technology", as they sometimes come from the FDP or CDU, who want to differentiate themselves from the Greens as business-friendly: Yes, climate protection, but let the market decide the right way - whether hydrogen or e-fuels , Biogas or even save CO₂ somewhere else than in traffic.

From Diess' point of view, the market has already decided, it was there.

If the state were to promote alternatives to the electric car now, it would jeopardize the future of business.

He has already spread the message in the team with Habeck - and that the coal phase-out should please be accelerated.

Markus Duesmann

(51) runs the Audi subsidiary

in line with Diess' spirit


Manager magazin has portrayed him as "black-green on four wheels".

He also has a cultural affinity for the green program, in addition to the economic ratio.

But that's usually enough.

As with Allianz boss

Oliver Bäte

(56), who appeared at a Green conference five years ago when his group had already committed itself to withdrawing from coal investments.

The insurance company has to take care of the money it keeps in the long term.

Just letting climate change go would be a return killer.

"Those who do good are more successful", Bäte summarized his commitment to the sustainable Wall Street spirit recently in "Stern".

However, the market does not regulate this on its own.

Through its regulation, politics must definitely help to ensure that the flow of money also flows in the right direction.

The green advisory board from the fossil industry

Arguably the party's greatest asset is that it is also gaining proximity to managers who do not get rid of their fossil footprint anytime soon.

BASF boss

Martin Brudermüller

(59) has been on the Greens' economic

advisory board

since 2018 and wants to shape the world's largest chemical company into a "green model company".

Mind you: the largest gas consumer in the country, which - still - owns the only German oil and gas giant Dea Wintershall.

Brudermüller does not want to change everything abruptly.

He maintains the structurally conservative line anchored in Ludwigshafen, disruption is not BASF's thing.

The energy transition, electromobility, the price of CO2 - everything can be done, but it should be realistic so that the industrial substance is not endangered.

Brudermüller calls for "a clear line for the next 20 years".

A predictable change, exactly this need seem to be promised by the Greens.

At the program


in November

, party leader

Annalena Baerbock


demonstrated how far the eco-party understands the needs of the old economy

: "If the steel industry in Europe is to have a future, it needs funding instruments for climate-neutral steel, a functioning CO2 -Price and prospects for the products in which this green steel will be required to be used in the future. "

Thyssenkrupp boss

Martina Merz

(58) could use such a commitment.

She has to renovate the steel business for a long time after all, and its future formula is of course: green steel, with hydrogen instead of coking coal as fuel in the blast furnace.

The investment required to retrofit the Duisburg plant alone, which is responsible for 2 percent of German CO2 emissions, is a task of the century.

It will hardly work without money from the state.

And that works best with a political leadership that would neither accept the business of dirty heavy industry nor its disappearance.

Incidentally, in January Martina Merz was the first German company boss to have her bonuses linked to the achievement of sustainability goals.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-03-15

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