Now she is the third richest woman in the world

Depending on the calculation, Koch’s assets are estimated at $ 42 billion to $ 52 billion. This means that she is only just behind L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers and the Walmart– Heiress Alice Walton.

The reason for the sudden wealth: Her husband had died at the age of 79 last year – and had left her a rich legacy. David Koch was one of the richest and most influential entrepreneurs in the United States. Together with his older brother Charles, he held 42 percent of the family company Koch Industries.

It is one of the largest privately held companies in the world, with 130,000 employees and around $ 110 billion in sales, that not only operates refineries and pipelines, but also does business in the chemical, electronics, paper, and finance industries.

In one fell swoop, Julia Koch has also become a central figure in US politics. According to the New York Times, the Koch brothers have donated at least $ 100 million since the 1970s to political movements, conservative Republican candidates, or think tanks that strengthen the right wing in the United States.

Among other things, they supported the rise of the tea party. In the 1980s, David Koch even tried to go into politics himself, but failed.

I returned to the 1950s. Julia Flesher Koch (on the fact that she quit her job after the wedding)

At that time, he did not yet know his later wife Julia. Born in the rural state of Iowa, she didn’t come to New York until the late 1980s. There she worked for some time as an assistant to the fashion designer Adolfo, who then dressed Nancy Reagan.

Julia Koch quickly gained access to the city’s high society; in the early 1990s, for example, she was photographed at popular events such as the Benefit Gala of the Costume Institute in the Metropolitan Museum

She met her future husband on a blind date that friends had organized for her in 1991. She later said to friends about the tête-à-tête: “I am glad to have met this man. So I know that I will never go out with him again. ”But apparently it was love at second glance. They met again six months later – and this time it sparked.

Already two years after the date she stopped working in order to dedicate her time to David Koch before the wedding in 1996. “I returned to the 1950s,” she joked about her new role. In 1996, the 33-year-old married the 23-year-old billionaire in the Hamptons – the place on Long Island where the wealthy New Yorkers have their summer residences.

The two later had three children, the eldest son goes to college today.

Important position thanks to “Vogue” boss Anna Wintour

With the wedding, nothing stood in the way of her steep rise to high society in New York. Instead of just being an invited guest, she was the co-chairwoman of the famous Met Gala in the Metropolitan Museum at the age of 34. The “Vogue” boss and fashion legend Anna Wintour had personally selected her for the post.

Rich donors and celebrities like Madonna sat in the audience. Sting sang homage to Gianni Versace. The fact that her husband David was one of the donors to the Metropolitan Museum certainly didn’t hurt.

She made a name for herself as a charity lady. On her own website, she presents herself as President of the David H. Koch Foundation. There is no talk of politics, but of science and medical research, of education and art, into which $ 200 million went.

Real estate in New York, the Hamptons, Aspen and Florida with a value of $ 143 million has now also passed into the possession of Julia Koch. In New York, the family lived in an 18-room apartment on Fifth Avenue – in a luxury house where other billionaires, such as US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, also live.

Julia Koch has not yet stood out as an entrepreneur. The family company is still in the hands of Charles Koch, who heads him as CEO and Chairman. His 42-year-old son Chase Koch is considered a potential successor.

More: 2020 Forbes List: These are the richest people in the world


KfW chief Bräunig prefers to work in the background

Frankfurt KfW CEO Günther Bräunig knows his way around crises. During the financial crisis, the 64-year-old bank manager jumped as an interim boss at the Mittelstandsbank IKB when the then KfW subsidiary threatened to collapse in the summer of 2007 under the burden of worthless US mortgage papers. And he still heads the supervisory board of the Pfandbriefbank, which was created from the remains of Hypo Real Estate, which was nationalized at the time.

The crisis expertise of Bräunig and KfW has been in greater demand than ever since the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The development bank’s cheap aid loans, for which the state is largely liable, are an important component of the federal government’s efforts to combat the economic consequences of the corona crisis. The state development bank steps in where banks and savings banks shy away from new loans.

9728 applications have been submitted to KfW by Tuesday, the loan volume is 22.9 billion euros. At KfW, Bräunig subordinated everything to coping with the flood of applications, “because the whole Republic will see how fast and effective we will be,” he said in a video message to the employees at the start of the programs.

The recognition of Bräunig is great in the financial scene. He is a “very accessible and knowledgeable banker with whom you enjoy working,” said the corporate client manager of a large German bank.

The assessments in Berlin sound very similar. “In the corona crisis, Günther Bräunig proves himself to be an accomplished and pragmatic crisis manager, with whom I exchange ideas non-stop,” said State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Jörg Kukies, the Handelsblatt.

“He is fully committed day and night so that we can achieve our common goal of guiding Germany through this crisis well.” The KfW boss made a decisive contribution to this.

Praise from the Federal President

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) has also contacted Bräunig and thanked the state development bank for its commitment. He “expressed his respect for the responsibility that now lies on our shoulders with the assumption of Corona aid for the German economy”, Bräunig wrote to KfW employees at the end of March.

This is a lot of praise for a person who is actually not in the spotlight. For a good two years now, Bräunig has been the third largest German bank in terms of total assets. Few employees know the institute as well as the person from Wiesbaden, who spent almost his entire professional life at the development bank.

But when Bräunig moved up to the top in January 2018, he refrained from making the big appearance. When asked at his first press appearance as KfW boss which fragrance brands he wanted to set at the state development bank during his term in office, he decided: “In my opinion, there is no need for your own signature.” at most he wants to set new accents.

Braunig prefers to work in the background. Public spikes against the government are not known. This differentiates him from his predecessor Ulrich Schröder. One senses that Bräunig is not comfortable with everything that is decided in Berlin, rather than being heard by him.

This applies, for example, to the state’s 100 percent liability for KfW quick loans. Prior to this, Bräunig had emphasized that he considers it important that the banks also retain at least a small part of the liability for a loan.

But he made it clear that it was ultimately a political decision. When something is decided politically, Bräunig doesn’t sulk, but makes the best of it, says someone who knows him well.

This characteristic should contribute to the appreciation that he enjoys across all parties in Berlin. In the past, the political smell of the barn played an important role in filling the KfW main post. At least Braun’s political preferences are not on record. Nevertheless, he was the preferred candidate of both coalition partners in his freestyle.

More: Corona help: KfW eases conditions for fast credit


Gerald Haug is the voice of science

Dusseldorf Usually, the scientists at the Leopoldina take a lot of time. It takes a year or two for a working group from the time-honored scholarly society from Halle an der Saale to present a result, such as the aging of society or the interdisciplinary analysis of climate goals. But what is normal in times of the corona crisis?

Since Gerald Haug took up his new position as president six weeks ago, the Leopoldina has already published three ad hoc statements on the pandemic. Easter Monday’s document recommends a gradual relaxation of the lockdown – and could have a direct impact on the decisions of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country heads who meet this Wednesday.

This brings an institution that has so far remained in the shadow into the public eye, which was founded in 1652 by four doctors as the “Academy of Natural Scientists”.

Since Emperor Leopold I guaranteed her “complete freedom from censorship” in 1687, society has borne his name. In 2008 the Leopoldina was named “National Academy of Sciences”, employing 90 people in Halle and Berlin.

It is not a university or runs laboratories, but is an intellectual think tank that represents German science abroad and is intended to provide independent advice to politicians and the public. 1600 scientists from more than 30 countries are united here.

The Presidium selects new members who must excel in scientific achievements. 180 Nobel Prize winners can be found in the annals, 30 among the current members. Albert Einstein was just as much a part of the elite circle as Marie Curie or Charles Darwin.

Haug is a field researcher

Gerald Haug has also been a Leopoldina member since 2012. Born in Karlsruhe, he is a climatologist, marine geologist and paleo-oceanographer. Haug’s focus: research into sediment cores.

After drilling on the Venezuelan coast, he was able to demonstrate historical periods of drought that could explain the decline of Mayan culture. Although Haug quickly becomes seasick, he has been on research ships in the Indian Ocean or on deep-sea drilling in the Caribbean.

He is a field researcher who has taught in Los Angeles and Zurich and has headed the climate geochemistry department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz since 2015. In his work, he constructs past climates. But the corona crisis is about the future, looking ahead.

Haug, who turned 52 on Tuesday, does not hide the fact that he is a stranger. Rather, he sees himself as a moderator. He published the ad-hoc statement together with 25 colleagues, including Ifo boss Clemens Fuest and the business man Lars Feld.

In the 19-page paper, a mask requirement for buses and trains is proposed, the gradual opening of schools. “Whenever the distance rules can be adhered to with the help of masks and hygiene, things can go on,” said Haug on Monday in the “Daily Topics”.

Restaurants with the appropriate seating could open again, stadium visits or parties would have to be avoided. Haug does not see the statement as a roadmap that must come from politics.

“He is a thoroughbred scientist, not an administrator”

Nevertheless, the document carries weight: Merkel said before Easter that she would also use the “very important study” of the Leopoldina to orientate the way forward. For her, the academy is the “voice of science”, as she once explained.

Even the microbiologist Jörg Hacker had geared the Leopoldina to more political advice in his ten years in office. Successor Haug is now to help the breakthrough.

“He is a thoroughbred scientist, not an administrator,” says chemist Robert Schlögl, who also worked on the ad hoc paper. “Haug is a driver, has demanded the necessary discipline from all of us.” There were 30 variants of the document, and the wording was fine-tuned to the end.

The Leopoldina itself also suffers from the corona crisis: Haug has had to postpone or cancel all events by the end of June, most of his employees are in the home office. Conferences with the other national think tanks: they only take place by video. Haug wants to continue to provide scientific support for the pandemic. At least until a vaccine is found.

At the time of his inauguration, he announced “pointed debates”. The academy must be able to deal with socially burning issues within a few weeks. Haug quickly proved that she can do this.

More: The Leopoldina research community has outlined options for an exit strategy from the corona lockdown. Criticism is sparked by their proposals for digital data collection.


Twitter founder wants to donate a billion dollars

Jack Dorsey

The Twitter boss follows the example of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Hamburg The founder of the short message service Twitter, Jack Dorsey, wants to donate a billion dollars – among other things for aid in the corona pandemic. To do this, he uses shares in the payment service provider Square, which he also founded.

“Why now? The need is becoming more urgent and I want to see results in my lifetime, ”he tweeted. According to him, he puts 28 percent of his wealth into charity.

The success of Twitter made the 43-year-old one of the best-known entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. He is also the boss of Twitter and Square. Both companies are now listed on the stock exchange, but Dorsey only has a small stake in Twitter.

Specifically, Dorsey is transferring 20 million Square shares to a company that is to gradually turn the papers into money. Initially, the funds are to be used as corona aids, later they will benefit women’s projects in developing countries and projects on unconditional basic income.

In his opinion, these two fields are “the best long-term solutions to the existential problems of the world,” wrote Dorsey. He promised complete transparency about income and expenses. The entrepreneur has long seen a need for action in the global south: in the meantime he has announced that he plans to work from Africa for some time.

Why now? The need is becoming more urgent, and I want to see results in my lifetime. Jack Dorsey (Twitter founder)

To date, corona has mainly affected industrialized countries. In contrast to other disasters, there are hardly any fundraisers and there is currently little need for donations. The first donation from Dorsey’s new $ 100,000 aid fund goes to the “America’s Food Fund” panel project.

Bill Gates is a role model for major donors from the US tech scene. Of the Microsoft-Günder announced a few days ago that its foundation should fund corona vaccine factories.

Unlike Gates, Dorsey is also criticized in the corona crisis, because false news about the virus spread on Twitter.

More: Twitter closes deal with hedge funds – Jack Dorsey remains boss


Boris Johnson’s Representation: Who is Dominic Raab?

London Under normal conditions, Dominic Raab should be overjoyed: the 46-year-old is currently de facto Prime Minister of Great Britain. But the circumstances of his promotion are serious: When Prime Minister Boris Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit of a London hospital on Monday evening because of his Covid 19 illness, he asked his Secretary of State to represent him. That is why he will take over Johnson’s duties “where necessary”, he said.

It’s no secret that Raab dreamed of being prime minister one day: when the conservative ruling party was looking for a successor for Theresa May last year, the 46-year-old also applied for the post. But he had to drop out of the race early because he lacked party support.

Raab then recommended himself to Johnson, and after he won, the new prime minister rewarded Raab with the post of Secretary of State.

It was a big leap in my career. After all, Raab had little experience in top political positions. But the karate fan was always in the right place at the right time: When Brexit Minister David Davis surprisingly stepped down in the summer of 2018, the then Prime Minister May lacked the alternatives – and brought the Brexit hardliner Raab into her cabinet.

After four months, the latter resigned in protest against the government’s Brexit course. Despite the short term of office, the law graduate had already made headlines, for example when he carelessly admitted publicly that he did not know what great importance the port of Dover had for British trade.

In December 2019, his attitude to Brexit in the general election threatened to become dangerous: in his constituency in south-west London – which was once described by a tabloid as “Beverly Hills of Great Britain” – many citizens had spoken out in favor of remaining in the EU .

Unflattering play on words

It had been speculated that Raab could be voted out of office because of this. But the son of a Czech immigrant redeemed his mandate. Albeit with a significantly lower majority than before.

There are also some in London’s government district who are less benevolent in Raab’s career. Government officials have reportedly dubbed “Dom” the nickname “Dim Dom” – an unflattering pun with the British curse word “dimwit” that could be translated as “fool”. In addition, Raab’s former secretary had blurted out that he “could not do well with women” and that he was arrogant. Raab could not shine in the press briefings that have been held daily since the corona crisis.

He had a prominent role as Foreign Minister: he was and is responsible for bringing the thousands of Britons abroad back home. But he usually completes public appointments wooden and with beads of sweat on his forehead, careful not to deviate from his script.

Johnson’s condition is “stable”

Just a few hours after the announcement that Raab was initially representing Premier Johnson, there was speculation as to what would happen if the prime minister’s health deteriorated, but there were no signs that Premier Johnson’s condition was “stable,” said a government spokesman.

If a head of government fails, there is no set procedure in the UK. The head of government can – as he had done with Raab – appoint a “First Secretary of State” to represent him. But ultimately it would be up to the cabinet to appoint a new prime minister.

Boris Johnson transferred to intensive care

The ministers are still making decisions together, as head of cabinet Michael Gove hastily emphasized in interviews. Gove is not supposed to be a friend of Raab: he is also said to have ambitions for the post of premier. In 2019 he ran for the post, but retired.

The press had previously reported extensively on Gove’s drug experience – after rumors had it brought to the attention of Raab’s team.

More: It has long been said that Boris Johnson has only mild corona symptoms. The British Prime Minister is now in intensive care. It’s a shock to the British.


Chris Boos develops software to combat the corona pandemic

Dusseldorf The weekend is over for Hans-Christian Boos. He is currently working through, often until late in the evening. “A day feels like a whole week,” he says. But he doesn’t take that into account, the project has to be finished: time is a decisive factor in combating the corona pandemic.

Boos is the founder of the IT company Arago, but he is currently working on another project: on his initiative, 130 programmers and scientists are developing a technology that makes it possible to trace the infection pathways of the corona virus – without the citizens being revealed to the authorities must, as data protection officers fear with such solutions.

Pepp-PT – as the name suggests – could be a decisive factor in containing the pandemic and thus enabling a kind of normalcy again in the next few weeks, at least if enough citizens are willing to accept it.

The technical platform is expected to be published this Tuesday or Wednesday, on which initiatives in the various EU Member States can develop apps that are tailored to local conditions.

Boos, who calls himself Chris, is in his element, the computer scientist likes to delve into complex technical problems.

He now has more time for this: since the beginning of March, Boos has no longer been CEO, but Arago’s technical director – Louise Öström, who was previously responsible for European cloud business at VMWare, has taken the lead. The experienced manager is responsible for “scaling”. “That came just in time,” says the founder, referring to his current project.

Early warning thanks to data

Boos recognized the need for such software early on. There were few infections in Germany at the time, but the number grew exponentially, as elsewhere.

His conclusion: “It doesn’t go well if you don’t do anything about it.” So he initiated the project, in which scientists and research institutions from eight countries are now participating, including the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

The system is designed to warn contact persons of corona patients at an early stage – and thus ensure that they isolate themselves, even if they are not yet developing symptoms. “The question was: Can you do that without losing privacy?” Says Boos. The topic is important to him.

The answer is: yes, you can. The software assigns users a random, pseudonymous number that does not provide any information about the person. In addition, the data will be automatically deleted later.

It is no coincidence that such an initiative stems from Boos. He is a nerd, but not one who only has an eye on technology. After graduating from high school, he studied computer science, while attending lectures in English romanticism.

His T-shirts, which he also puts on appointments with ministers and professors, adorn allusions to the thought experiment “Schrödinger’s cat” and the circle number Pi, but also sayings like “Thinking is like Google, just more blatant ”.

Boos founded Arago in 1995 with his uncle. Initially, the company focused on IT management and consulting. Work on the Hiro platform began in 2014. This enables companies to use artificial intelligence to automate business processes, for example in IT.

When the hype surrounding the technology began, Boos was able to explain it in a catchy and humorous way. He has been doing this on the Federal Government’s Digital Council since 2018, where he also launched the Pepp-PT initiative.

Boos does not disclose how Arago’s business is going. The number of tasks that are carried out via the platform grows “exponentially”, he says only.

The network operator is one of the customers Swisscomwho also sells the technology to its customers, to investors the private equity company KKR.

According to the last available balance sheet, the start-up posted a loss of EUR 4.9 million in 2017, which is not unusual in the growth phase. The new boss Öström should now ensure that the work of Boos pays off.

More: Chris Boos helped develop the technology to make data protection-compliant corona tracking apps possible. It promises maximum privacy.


Trump trusts this doctor

Washington It didn’t take long for a US regional newspaper to find an old quote from Deborah Birx in the archive. Vice President Mike Pence had just appointed Birx as coordinator of the White House Corona Task Force in late February. “I like rocks, they are more stable than humans,” Birx is quoted in 1972. Birx was still a teenager and had just received an award for her science project on fossils.

When the 64-year-old stands behind the lectern at the daily briefing of her task force, she actually embodies something like the rock of consistency between the other protagonists. On the one hand there is the volatile US President Donald Trump himself.

He uses the briefing, which is broadcast in the USA by all major news broadcasters, primarily as a forum for his monologues. His leitmotif: repeatedly emphasize how he, Trump, recognized the risk of corona early and resolutely combated it and how the US economy would soon flourish under him.

Then there is Pence, official head of the task force, but above all Trump’s faithful. The vice can be mocked by his boss for always holding the board with the corona rules of conduct in the camera.

Obama still used Birx

Birx is safe from such attacks by the president. This is partly due to her competence as a medical doctor – and partly due to the seriousness of the situation. For the Easter weekend, Birx expects the pandemic to culminate in the metropolises of New York, Detroit and New Orleans, the current corona epicenter in the United States.

Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Americans will die of coronavirus over the Easter weekend. Trump knows that if he attacked Birx in this situation, he would not be able to collect points.

Birx is one of the few political survivors from the Barack Obama era in the White House. Trump’s predecessor had appointed the internist with a doctorate in 2014 as the coordinator of the US government for the global fight against AIDS.

Birx had previously spent many years as a scientist and colonel in the service of the US Army looking for a vaccine and also campaigning for AIDS. She has now also taken on the job as corona coordinator.

Birx has a close relationship with another member of the Corona Task Force: the 79-year-old immunologist Anthony Fauci, for whom Birx worked in the 80s and whom she still calls her mentor.

“He understood the data”

The two achieved their masterpiece, according to reports from the US media, when they convinced Trump in his office last weekend in March to uphold the anti-corona recommendations until the end of April. Trump originally wanted to return to normality from Easter, which economic advisers had also urged him to do.

But the two doctors presented Trump with a model calculation that would then result in over two million corona deaths in the United States.

Afterwards, Fauci described the crucial moment in an interview with CNN: “Dr. Birx and I went to the Oval Office together and leaned over the desk and said, here is the data, take a look and he looked at it and understood it. “

Trump does not usually have a reputation for being too willing to listen to scientific facts or being particularly open to dissenting opinions. However, the duo Birx and Fauci have so far been surprisingly successful in convincing Trump. Conversely, Birx in particular takes great care not to contradict Trump in front of the camera.

When Birx returns to her family after a turbulent day at the White House, she can’t really hope for a quiet end of the day. The doctor lives in a household with her husband, her adult daughter, her son-in-law, her grandchildren and her elderly parents. Accordingly, Birx says he pays attention to the smallest signs of a possible corona infection.

More: Donald Trump is often criticized for his policies via social media. Now it really seems to make sense. A comment.


Pandemic causes Corona beer to stop brewing in Mexico

Corona beer bottles

The Mexican beer brand suffered enormous image damage.

(Photo: AFP)

Mexico City It was only twelve months ago that Cassiano De Stefano celebrated the inauguration of a new, ultra-modern brewery in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. A production with the latest technology and a special laboratory to measure proteins and suspended matter in the beers. The head of the brewery enthused that the factory could brew up to 24 million hectoliters Grupo Modelo back then.

At that time, the Brazilian had been at the helm of the most important Mexican brewing group for just over a year. And like his company, he was focused on success and growth. After all, the best product in the wide range was selling better and better around the world – Corona.

But a lot has changed since then. A new virus with the same name as De Stefano’s beer is spreading rapidly around the world. Corona beer has not been brewed since Sunday in the new factory in Hidalgo or at Grupo Modelo’s other seven production sites in Mexico. The government did not consider the operation of the brewery as essential, as the group announced.

From one hundred to zero – the successful brewery that has been wholly owned by the large corporation since 2013 Anheuser-Busch InBev heard, the pandemic hits hard. But in times of global mass disease, it is very difficult to sell a mass product that bears the name of a virus that has infected more than a million people worldwide.

Brewery boss De Stefano knows that too. Google– Searches that linked the words corona, beer, and virus have been growing exponentially since January. Spots and jokes with the beer brand on social networks have been the order of the day ever since. There is massive image damage.

Cassiano De Stefano

The manager has spent almost his entire career at AB InBev.

(Photo: Grupo Modelo)

The fact that Corona launched an advertising campaign for new products in the USA in early March was a disturbing factor, winning the rapper Snoop Dog among others. The motto: “La Vida más Fina”, in German: “The finest life”. It also advertised “the immediate arrival” of the new “Corona product”.

The corona crisis is particularly bitter for the up-and-coming CEO of Grupo Modelo, who has been doing business in Mexico since January 2018. De Stefano is doing quite well, Corona, the star in Modelo’s portfolio, has sold extremely well worldwide and was one of the world’s best-selling beers.

Corona is exported to 180 countries. No other Anheuser-Busch InBev brand has been able to keep up with this recently. Now the beer is only brewed at the parent company in Belgium.

De Stefano, who comes from Santos in Brazil and has passed the best business schools in the USA, has been with AB InBev for over 20 years. He spent almost his entire career in the company in Brazil, interrupted by a two-year intermezzo in Russia. Then he went to Mexico.

More: Beer brewers fear a wave of bankruptcies due to the corona crisis


What Ex-Siemens CEO Löscher expects as chief controller at Telefónica

So far, the Spanish mobile phone company Telefónica has given its German subsidiary little freedom. The business of management in Germany was always monitored by Spaniards as chief overseers. That has changed. A well-connected manager has taken over the chairmanship of the supervisory board in Germany since April: ex-Siemens CEO Peter Löscher.

At Telefónica Deutschland Löscher is an old acquaintance. He sits on the board of directors of the parent company Telefónica. Löscher has been very well connected in Spain for a long time. His wife is Spanish and his late father-in-law Agustí Montal Costa was president of FC Barcelona. Löscher lives in Munich and Barclona. Already in his Siemens– He often flew to Catalonia at the weekend.

At Siemens, his commitment ended up not very happy. When the then supervisory board chairman Gerhard Cromme presented Löscher, the tall manager, to the amazed public as the new Siemens boss in May 2007, many in the house had to check the name first: It was an Austrian who was already at General Electric, Aventis and Merck had worked.

The business economist, son of a sawmill operator from Villach in Carinthia, had played in the Austrian national volleyball team. The surprising staff was only possible at the time because the biggest German bribery scandal had shaken the proud company Siemens to its foundations.

In his first term in office, Löscher was able to show success. He cleaned up thoroughly in the corruption-plagued company. He was able to convey his mantra – “only clean business” – credibly. Like almost every Siemens boss before him, he fundamentally restructured the company and initially divided it into three divisions. He significantly improved the margins and brought the group closer to the model of General Electric, which had long been considered inaccessible, in terms of profitability.

But his leadership style was risky. He was not considered to be the hard-working – however, in return, he always explicitly took the private life of his employees into account at the weekend. However, Löscher did not work extremely deeply into the topics, but relied on those responsible for operations.

In his second term, margins crumbled, Löscher had to issue several profit warnings. Some in the group suspected that CFO Joe Kaeser thought he was the better CEO and let Löscher appear.

Back home in 2016

The two couldn’t be more different. Kaeser always spoke eloquently and also spoke deeply about strategic topics. Löscher was binding in direct contact, but rather brittle and bulky in public appearances. He finally had to leave Siemens in 2013, and Kaeser took over as CEO.

After Siemens followed an intermezzo in Switzerland for Löscher. In 2014, the Russian oligarch Wiktor Wekselberg made the Austrian a strong man in his Swiss holding company Renova. The company holds shares in the Swiss companies Sulzer, OC Oerlikon and Schmolz + Bickenbach. But after two years, both managers went their separate ways again. According to media reports, the Russian and the Austrian have become increasingly alienated because of the lack of business success.

Löscher then went back to his home country as the head of the oil and gas group’s supervisory board OMV. But at the largest industrial company in the Alpine Republic, Löscher retired in the past year. The trigger for his withdrawal was the massive influence of the then conservative right-wing populist government under Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) on the part-state company in Austria. Even the then finance minister Hartwig Löger could not change Löscher, who had been the chief supervisor of OMV since 2016.

In a letter that became known in the media, Löscher criticized the increased state control at the energy company in Vienna. As much as he could understand the political claim of an economically stronger perception of interests and state influence of the Austrian government, “I am also very entrepreneurial,” wrote the “foreigner” Löscher at the time. The former Siemens boss was regarded as an excellent chairman of the supervisory board at OMV, who worked with ambition in the global energy business.

At Telefónica in Germany, he now has to show that he can monitor the work of the mobile operator well. The company behind the O2 brand has been far behind in terms of the quality of its network for years Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.

One reason for this: expanding the network is expensive. And so far, the mother in Spain insists on lavish dividend payments. At Telefónica in Germany, there is hope, according to Handelsblatt information, that he can give the national company more financial leeway so that the company can succeed in catching up with Telekom and Vodafone.

More: Ex-Siemens boss Löscher cedes to OMV as chief overseer.


Dismay at the sudden death of Hesse’s finance minister

Thomas Schafer

He was considered the Crown Prince of Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier.

(Photo: imago images / Jörg Halisch)

Berlin As Hesse’s Minister of Finance, Thomas Schäfer was a numbers man. The 54-year-old also had a humorous side and was never at a loss for a saying, not even at his own expense. He proudly demonstrated his collection of ceramic dog figurines to guests in his ministerial office in Wiesbaden. “It’s a passion for collecting that my wife unfortunately doesn’t share,” he smiled.

Even when Schäfer presented his country’s corona shield on Thursday, he looked like everyone knew him. Grabbing, careful and not focusing too much on yourself. Schäfer did what was necessary and did everything he could to fight the crisis.

Stunned and shocked, politicians reacted on Saturday to the news of Schäfer’s completely surprising death. The politician has apparently committed suicide. Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier said dismayed that he had to assume that Schäfer had “overwhelmed” the concerns about the corona crisis.

In 1999 Schäfer got into the state politics by chance. He had promised his friend Christian Wagner to work for him if the CDU won the state election, which nobody expected at the time. But the CDU won, Wagner became Minister of Justice. Schäfer kept his word and quit his job at Commerzbank.

He quickly rose in the state government, and in 2009 he became better known for the Opel renovation. In 2010 he took over the Ministry of Finance, ten years later he was the longest-serving Minister of Finance in the Republic and coordinated the CDU-ruled countries on sensitive reforms such as property tax or federal financial relations. He negotiated hard, but was always trying to compensate. For many, the Friedrich Merz supporter was a conservative in the best sense. Schäfer was alien to ideology. For him, politics meant finding solutions to people’s problems.

Perhaps Schäfer’s biggest success is the debt relief of his municipalities – the “Hessen-Kassen” is now considered a blueprint for other countries. These successes, but also his firm demeanor and enormous hard work made Schäfer highly respected across parties. Long since he was Crown Prince Volker Bouffiers for the office of Prime Minister of Hesse. Schäfer had a kind of friendship with SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans, Walter-Borjans was a guest at Schäfer’s 50th birthday party.

Politicians from all parties reacted dismayed to Schäfer’s death. “We lose an outstanding personality with him,” said Bouffier. State President Boris Rhein wrote that Schäfer “is already missing”. Schäfer leaves behind a wife and two children.

Note: If you yourself feel that you need help, please contact the telephone counseling service immediately. On the freephone number 0800-1110111 or 0800-1110222 you can get help from consultants who can show you ways out of difficult situations. There are further help offers at German Society for Suicide Prevention.