Bernard Molloy sadly passed away in May this year. Bernard was a former board member of the German British Forum and the North West representative of the German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Liverpool City Region LEP Celebration Event, 10 October
Liverpool City Region LEP invites the business community to remember and celebrate Bernard’s great work in global logistics, his energy and passion for apprenticeships and the City Region, and of course his ‘life & soul’ character.
At the Reform Club lunch on March 25th 2019 Lord Mandelson and His Excellency the German Ambassador Dr Peter Wittig gave their views on the present state of the Brexit negotiations. The event was sponsored by the German British Forum and German British Chamber of Industry & Commerce. In the following discussion board members and guests from Industry, Financial Services, the Professions and the Press expressed their views and concerns vigorously. There was overall consent about the need for certainty and that whatever the outcome may eventually be that it was going to be an attempt of damage limitation rather than bringing about tangible benefits for the U.K. or the EU.
Tuesday 22 January 2019 at The Reform Club with Lord Fox
Members of the German British Forum board and friends met guest of honour Lord Fox to discuss potential final Brexit outcomes following the House of Commons vote to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal on 15 January.
The main outcome scenarios discussed, as in all corners of the UK this week, were:
1) No deal, where Britain leaves the EU on 29 March under WTO trade rules
2) Extension of Article 50 to a future date giving the government and the EU more time to reach and
3) Any other result – such as an adapted Theresa May deal in the form of a customs union, an extension to Article 50 and a “people’s vote” or no Brexit
Joining Lord Fox were Bob Bischof chairman of the GBF, Steffen Hoffmann CEO of Bosch UK, Johannes Haas of DZ Bank, John Hammond, a partner at law firm CMS, Oliver Schramm, Head of Department at the German Embassy, Dr Ulrich Hoppe, head of the German-British Chamber of Commerce, Dr Denis MacShane, author and commentator on UK-European affairs, Thomas Kielinger, author and former journalist, Ingo Fischer, Main Board Lidl UK, Oliver Lawson, an associate at Stevens & Bolton and Sebastian Blomeier
Denis Macshane’s summary can be found on the GBF website www.gbf.com.
After extensive discussions led by Lord Fox the attendees gave the following predictions in a straw poll:
German British Forum round table debate, Monday 25 June 2018 at The Reform Club with Lord Fox
The GBF board and guests from the media, politics and service sector met at the Reform Club on 25th June to debate alternative outcomes of the present Brexit negotiations as well as post Brexit Britain’s industrial strategy, corporate governance and skills issues. How would “no deal” a hard or soft Brexit affect manufacturing, the retail sector, financial services, law and logistics? It was an opportunity for senior German and British businesspeople to share their views with members of the press and politicians.
The aim was to provide a balanced view with negative, neutral and positive outcomes of Brexit. All participants expressed their appreciation of the event chaired by Lord Fox, Liberal Peer and spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
With thanks to Oliver Lawson of Stevens & Bolton and Silke Schöling of AHK UK for the photography.
Panel discussion organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Will the UK’s proposed post-Brexit industrial strategy meet the challenges of new global opportunities? The UK Government has now set out to construct a new industrial strategy and has indicated in the recent Green Paper that lessons drawn from other countries will play a part.
In co-operation with our member Pinsent Masons and the German-British Forum, the BCCG Regional Committee for the UK is delighted to invite you and your colleagues to a panel discussion to explore how the German experience and policies have driven a successful export-led industrial sector and how the UK can adapt and implement best practice.
The Panel will discuss the fundamental elements in developing an industrial strategy including promoting innovation, increasing R&D, improving skills and productivity, infrastructure investment, and focusing on sectors and regions. There will also be an opportunity for the audience to join in the debate.
Moderated by Bob Bischof, Chairman of the German British Forum, the panel features contributors with experience of both UK and German industry:
Carl Arntzen – CEO, Bosch Thermotechnology Ltd
Richard Carter – Vice President in charge of BASF’s UK/Ireland Unit, and Managing Director of BASF companies in the UK and Ireland
Lord Chris Fox – Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy
The speech by Thomas Kielinger OBE, journalist, author and political commentator, given at the AHK London summer dinner on Thursday 8th June, 2017. Since 1998 Thomas has been the London correspondent of Die Welt.
Thanks for the generous introduction, Nigel. But you left something out, you did not explain to the audience what OBE really, really means for a media person like myself. Let me make amends to that omission and tell you exactly what it means: Overtaken by events. That’s how I read OBE.
We live in the age of the wise-cracking Yogi Berra who famously opined: “Predictions are very difficult, especially about the future.” How relieved Greg Hands must be to have been able to cancel his appearance tonight with so many uncertainties hanging over our heads.
How the news agenda changes from one day to the next! How little inkling we had of a Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States. Actually how little we foresaw 27 years ago the fall of the Berlin Wall and two years later that of the old Soviet Union. . . And, dare I say, in a few hours’ time of Jeremy Corbyn as Britain’s next Prime Minster?
Don’t worry I’m not going to give you the low-down on the election. That would be foolhardy in the extreme for someone like myself with the accolade of so often having been overtaken by events. Instead I am going to try to give you a little food for thought with a longer sell-by date than a couple of hours. . . Although – sorry, I can’t leave politicians alone – I am tickled to wonder how Theresa May will explain to her husband the “Honey I shrunk the polls” dilemma…
Enough of that. I recently came across the first article I wrote about Great Britain and how I tried to understand what makes the people of the sceptred isle tick. I still after almost a lifetime of trying haven’t quite come to the end of it. In the summer of 1970, a cool forty six years ago, I applied for a job with the German Service of the BBC and later summarized my impression of that visit to London in a German magazine. There were strikes, there was the British keep-calm-an-carry-on spirit, there was Edward Heath in the House of Commons who had announced he was going to take his country into the Common Market – and there was the very last line in my essay which ran thus:
“The British measure by different yardsticks from the continent” (or sing from different hymn sheets, if you like) “and are fearful about the planned-for entry into Europe, a step against which their historical instinct rebels.”
Actually, 1970 wasn’t my first contact with Britain, I had had four previous years of experience in Wales, at Cardiff University, first as a student, then as Lektor at the German Department there, so a certain degree of familiarity with British thinking I already had under my belt, so to speak. And yet I’m astonished that at the age of 30, still a greenhorn in the wider world, I was already convinced that the British “historical instinct” rebelled against entry into a European framework called the Common Market.
It took me a long time to learn more about what gave substance to this judgement which all but seems to have anticipated Brexit. . . Amongst other sources I came across Churchill’s famous essay in the “Saturday Evening Post” of 1930 about “The United States of Europe” where Churchill muses about how different are the dreams of the British from those of the continent, only to go on writing with supreme confidence of judgement:
„We are with Europe but not of it. We are linked but not comprised; we are interested and associated, but not absorbed. We belong to no single continent, but to all.”
Little by little, insight by insight, I began to understand more about the differences in mentality between an island nation and continental nations, between seafarers and landlubbers, as it were. A see faring nation, I have found, is more attuned to the heaving and hoeing of the waves, and how flexibly one has to react to the unpredictability of the weather, both in its literal as well as in its political sense, whereas we in our German philosophical mind sets swear more by abstract concepts, “Gesamtkonzept”, which we tend to follow like some eternal truth.
By contrast, it was George Orwell who wrote about the ”anti-theoretical, anti-dogmatic, anti-abstract elements in English empiricism.” But my favourite quotation in this context comes from Lord Nelson and what he advised his captains on the eve of the battle of Trafalgar, October 1805:
“There is no certainty in a sea fight. Something has to be left to chance.” Look at the word “chance” and what it could mean: luck, opportunity – and gamble. On the high seas you cannot but develop an open mind and become a liberal, an optimist – and a risk-taker. That’s it: a risk-taker. The English are “inveterate gamblers” is another one of George Orwell’s succinct insights.
Well, forgive me, but from Nelson’s “something has to be left to chance” and Orwell’s dictum about the English as “inveterate gamblers” is only one short step to – well, you guessed it: Brexit.
Modern Germany, if she was confronted with such an overwhelming question mark like Brexit, would suffer a nervous breakdown. A seafaring nation, on the other hand, is less inclined to recoil from the unknown, it embraces it like an adventure to be conquered. The national fibre wants to be tested in adversity and so it takes the measure of what lies ahead.
Does anyone know what lies ahead with Brexit? may I ask. I don’t think so. To me and many others it is – to quote Churchill’s word about the old Soviet Union – “a riddle inside an enigma wrapped in a mystery.” I would actually like someone to write a steamy novel about “Fifty shades of Brexit”. Oh what Jeremy might want to do to Theresa in that context. . .
Seriously though, 48 percent of the risk-taking British did not want to go that far, did not want to go along with leaving the EU. So how do you address yourself, as a political leader, to a national crisis which Brexit is, a national emergency? You know how Churchill coped with the challenge of 1940: He took the course of statesmanship and said it as it was: “Blood, tears, toil and sweat.”
I’m not saying that Brexit is in any way comparable to the challenge Britain faced in 1940, but a more realistic appraisal of the slings and arrows of Brexit, outrageous or otherwise, should, I think, prevail. At least I hope it will. I am an optimist myself at heart, always have been, but about Brexit I think too much unfounded optimism has been spread around by the converted, too much un-secured triumphalism. Les stridency is, I think, required.
Lest we forget, Theresa May is a Johnny-come-lately to Brexit, having been a Remainer during the referendum campaign. In a way, converting to Brexitism was her first major U-turn, of which there were many more to follow.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not against people changing course and their minds. The great John Henry Newman, who converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism and became a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church (Pope Benedict XVI. beatified him in 2010) famously wrote in his autobiography of 1864:
“To live is to change. And to be perfect is to have changed often.”
By that definition, Theresa May is the perfect politician. . . Great Britain, too, has made change its hallmark. But let me remind you of what we also think is another typical British characteristic: “trial and error”.
Let me throw a little bit of what some people might call unreason at you: What if the decision taken in June last year should prove over time and economic decline to have been an error? Do you think it possible that Britain might reverse from an error like that? The smart money tells me: Forget it, absolutely forget it. Well, history is a subversive power, of that I am sure, and nobody knows what lies ahead.
For now, however, I am more certain. I can finish with the three words of advice the Metropolitan Police gave out during the tragedy on London Bridge last weekend: Run, hide, tell. Run from a Labour government; hide from the effects of a Tory victory, then tell it to the marines that things will get any better. Because they won’t.
But in Britain I am also reminded of the time-hallowed words of Pericles, the great statesman of ancient Greece: “The secret of happiness is freedom, but the secret of freedom is courage.” I very much hope that the courage of wisdom during the coming years will descend on Great Britain and the European Union.
The book launch of Six Days in September written by William Keegan, David Marsh and Richard Roberts, will be on 15 September 2017.
Six Days in September revisits the tumultuous political and economic event of ‘Black Wednesday’ – 16 September 1992 – when Britain was forced to withdraw sterling from the exchange rate mechanism of the European Monetary System.
This meeting considers the wider implications of the events of 1992 – and of 2016 – for the international monetary system, as well as the impact on Asia, where many policy-makers saw the European upheavals as presaging the 1997 financial crisis.
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia (2000-16)
Jacques de Larosière, Managing Director, IMF (1978-87); Governor, Banque de France (1987-93); President, EBRD (1993-98)
Sir Tom Scholar, Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury
Sir Paul Tucker, Deputy Governor, Bank of England (2009-13); Private Secretary to the Governor of Bank of England (1989-92)
Lord (Andrew) Turnbull, Principal Private Secretary to the UK Prime Minister (1988-92); Head of Monetary Department, HM Treasury (1992-95); Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury (1998-2002); Cabinet Secretary (2002-05)
Consensus is building internationally that diversity promotes business performance. However, different markets have adopted very different approaches. This is a good thing. Fidelio has a clear focus on building Boards fit for the future; as such we have long argued that the route to Board diversity cannot be uniform.
Supported by the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce and the German British Forum, this debate will explore the distinctive approaches adopted by the UK and German governments to increase the Boardroom diversity of our leading public companies. Our panel of Chairs, Non-Executive Directors and Investors is eminently qualified to shed light on what works and what doesn’t:
Dame Helen Alexander – Deputy-Chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review; Chairman of UBM plc, Non-Executive Director of Huawei UK
John Allan – Chair, Tesco plc, Barratt Developments plc and London First. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Worldpay Group plc, and former roles include CFO of Deutsche Post
Elisabeth Lady Stheeman – Supervisory Board Member of Aareal Bank AG; Supervisory Board Member of TLG Immobilien AG; Senior Advisor, Bank of England/Prudential Regulation Authority
Hans-Christoph Hirt – Executive Director and Co-Head, Hermes EOS
This debate is relevant for Directors and senior Executives interested in Board effectiveness and the impact of diversity, including within the UK and German markets. For further information, including details of attendance, please contact Emily Baker.
Quota vs Non-Quota
Following the Davies Review in 2010, the UK Government set voluntary targets for increasing gender diversity in the Boardroom. The 2015 target of 25% female representation in the Boardroom was met, though not by a substantial margin, and the 2016 Hampton-Alexander Review has set new voluntary targets of 33% female representation at Board level across the FTSE 350 by 2020. Among FTSE 100 companies the target also extends to achieving 33% at Executive and direct report level.
Clearly important first steps have been taken in the UK, but as the most recently compiled data shows there is still some way to go with the proportion of women on FTSE 100 Boards currently at 27% and 23.2% for FTSE 250 Boards.
Germany by contrast has adopted a legally binding quota, which came into force in 2016, requiring Supervisory Boards to ensure 30% female representation with the sanction of Supervisory Board positions being held vacant until targets are met. For the DAX 30 representation of female Supervisory Board members reached 30% by the end of 2016; across the top 100 German public companies female representation at Supervisory Board level is 27.5%. While the quota has resulted in gains to the number of women sitting on German Supervisory Boards, female representation on the Management Board remains single digit.
Importantly in both the UK and Germany measures are also being taken to reduce the gender pay gap and also to promote a much broader definition of diversity. In the UK for example the 2016 Parker Review introduces voluntary targets for ethnic diversity in the public company Boardroom.
Diversity is increasing in German and UK Boardrooms. On 4th April our speakers will review progress to date and importantly look forward to steps and initiatives that will enable companies achieve their goals and build effective Boards and leadership teams fit for the future.
Fidelio is a Board Development and Executive Search consultancy with a clear focus on building effective public company Boards and leadership teams fit for the future. We do this through Search, Development and Evaluation, underpinned by a deep understanding of what shareholders and stakeholders expect from the leadership team. Diversity is hardwired into every aspect of Fidelio’s offering. Based in London we work internationally.
For further information on how Fidelio supports clients through Search, Development or Evaluation, or of Fidelio’s “A Seat at the Table” Programme for senior female executives and directors please contact Gillian Karran-Cumberlege, or alternatively call + 44 (0) 20 7759 2200.
What will be the possible outcome of the negotiations between the UK and the EU?
How important is the European Passport for the financial industry
What are the consequences of the current market uncertainty for the Financial Industry in London?
Date: Thursday 13th October 2016
Church House Westminster
Precincts – Dean’s Yard
The British Chamber of Commerce in Germany cordially invites you to its next conference:
THE FUTURE OF LONDON’S FINANCIAL INDUSTRY
While the UK’s EU referendum has created a state of significant uncertainty, businesses operating in and through the UK are questioning how they will be affected by the consequences of this decision.
Among the most exposed to this uncertainty are companies operating in the financial sector – such as banks, insurances and brokers – because their current ability to benefit from the European Passport may be at risk.
At the moment the outcome of the negotiations between the UK and the EU seems to be crucial for the future of London’s financial industry. These negotiations, however, will take at least two years and business decisions will have to be made in between.
Our panellists aim to bring light into the current discussions and dispel false and rash assumptions. The experts of the political and the financial sector will assess the current situation thereby focusing on the cooperation between the financial markets of London and Frankfurt and the future of the European Passport. The aim of the conference is to provide guidance for business decisions that makes strategic planning possible even during the period of negotiations.
5:30 pm Registration
Andreas Meyer-Schwickerath Managing Director, BCCG
Frank Neumann German Embassy London
6:15 pm Panel discussion:
Chief Economist, Director of Policy, Institute of Directors
MP Chair All-Party, Parliamentary British-German
CEO, Frankfurt RheinMain GmbH
Dr. Jens Zimmermann
Member of German Parliament, Vice-Chair German-British Parliamentary Group,
Senior Policy Director, British Bankers’ Association
Burkard von Siegfried
Former General representative the Lloyd’s of London German Office, Of Counsel Luther Law Firm
Moderation: Dr. Hermann J. Knott, LLM
Attorney at Law (New York), Partner Luther Law Firm
Audience Q & As
7:30 pm Drinks Reception and Canapés
To register for this event, please visit the BCCG Events page and complete the online form:
“Die Frauenquote” – and other routes to board diversity
A key challenge for our clients in 2016 is achieving greater diversity – in particular at the leadership level. Fidelio was therefore pleased to launch the year with an impassioned, lively and frank debate on the effectiveness of quotas. Our key speakers were Lady Barbara Judge, Chairman of the Institute of Directors, and Edelgard Bulmahn, Vice President of the German Bundestag. The conclusions were bold and there was a clear consensus for change. Greater effectiveness and diversity at Board and Executive level can only be achieved by adopting a radically different approach. And it is this fresh thinking that underpins every aspect of Fidelio’s Board and Executive Search practice, as well as our “A Seat at the Table” programme for senior female executives.
Our keynote speakers were joined by an illustrious panel comprising: Carl-Peter Forster, who sits on a number of engineering Boards including Volvo Cars Corporation, Geely Automobile Holdings, the London Taxi Company, IMI plc and Rexam plc; Dr Marion Helmes, Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ProSiebenSat 1, Non-Executive Director of NXP Semiconductors; Elisabeth Lady Stheeman, Supervisory Board Member of Aareal Bank AG, Supervisory Board Member of TLG Immobilien AG; Daniela Weber-Rey, Chief Governance Officer at Deutsche Bank AG.
The audience included FTSE 100 Chairmen, UK and German Directors, major investors and Chairmen of charities that are key agencies for change, as well as curious journalists. The discourse was exceptionally candid and based on first-hand experience of hard business challenges. This combination of insight surely provides a crucible for change.
The “Frauenquote” theme is highly topical. Germany’s quota stipulating 30% female representation at Supervisory Board level for the largest listed companies came into effect at the beginning of 2016, affecting approximately 108 companies. The legally-binding quota is accompanied by a series of requirements compelling large and mid-sized companies to also set internal targets for female representation at their top management levels.
The UK has chosen a different path. The 2010 Davies Report set out a voluntary target of 25% female representation on FTSE 100 Boards in 2015. With corporates, Search firms and investors coming together, and the government clearly prepared to take more forceful measures if necessary, the target was met – just. Now, under the recommendations of the 2015 Davies Review, the UK is striving for 33% female representation on FTSE 350 Boards by 2020. The enormous challenge at the Executive layer is recognised.