Transatlantic Business Conference

The 13th Annual Transatlantic Business Conference took place on Nov 06-07, 2019 at Spreespeicher Berlin. In cooperation with our conference partners, the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Commerzbank, Deloitte, and our media parter DIE WELT, we offered different forums for exchange through presentations, panel discussions and workshops, all of which centered on the topic ''Building the Power to Compete in the 21st Century''.

Together with business leaders and political decision-makers, we discussed how businesses must be set up and which framework the economy needs to ensure competitiveness in the future. Transatlantic economic relations were at the center of the discussions, as well as the question of how to deal with China and the innovation capabilities of industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Haus der Commerzbank, Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin

+++ Please note that the program on Nov. 6 is not open to press. +++


7:00 pm - Evening Reception hosted by Commerzbank
Haus der Commerzbank, Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin

Opening & Welcome

  • Frank Sportolari, President, AmCham Germany
  • Ilka Hartmann, Abteilungsdirektorin/Vice President International Government Relations, Commerzbank AG

Speech: Geopolitical Developments and Implications of U.S. Policies

  • Eric Holder, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP, 82nd Attorney General of the United States

Followed by drinks and buffet


Please note that this program may be subject to change.

Spreespeicher, Stralauer Allee 2, 10245 Berlin

08:00 am Registration | Welcome Coffee

09:00 am Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Frank Sportolari, President, AmCham Germany
  • Dieter Kempf, President, BDI

Keynote Speech

  • Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Viewpoints from the Industry

  • Gordon Riske, CEO, KION Group AG
  • Annette Green, Vice President DACH, SAS Institute GmbH

IoT & Platform Economy - Evolution of Business Models

  • Sabine Bendiek, Chairman of the Management Board, Microsoft Germany
  • Gordon Riske, CEO, KION Group AG
  • Christine Mareen Rupp, Member of Executive Committee, Deloitte Consulting
  • Moderation: Olaf Gersemann, Chief Editor Economics & Finance, WELT

Coffee Break

Breakout Sessions

  • Neuroscience - Leveraging the invisible
    Dr. Benny Briesemeister, Scientific Lead, Neuroscience Institute
    Martin Pelach, Manager, Neuroscience Institute
    hosted by Deloitte
  • Artificial Intelligence & Ethics - Fairness, Accountability, Trust
    Dr. Andreas Becks, Head of Business Analytics DACH, SAS Institute
    hosted by SAS Institute
  • Trade in times of the Trump Administration
    Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner, Head of External Economic Policy, BDI
    Daniel Andrich, President & CEO, Representative of German Industry & Trade (RGIT)
    hosted by Squire Patton Boggs


How can Politics and Businesses React to the Challenges of Protectionism and Disruption

  • Ralf Brinkmann, President - DACH, Central Europe & Russia, Managing Director Dow Germany
  • Jack Kingston, former Member of U.S. Congress & Principal, Squire Patton Boggs
  • Moderation: Dr. Inga Michler, Economics Reporter, WELT

U.S.-China Trade Frictions
Panel I: Perspectives from Business and Administration

  • Mung Chiang, Dean, Purdue University College of Engineering
  • Dr. Thomas Hueck, Chief Economist, Robert Bosch GmbH
  • Moderation: Noah Barkin, Visiting Fellow, Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS)

Coffee Break

U.S.-China Trade Frictions
Panel II: China and the Impact on the Global Trading System

  • Tim Stratford, Former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative, Chairman of AmCham China, Partner of Covington Beijing
  • Peter Flanagan, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP; Co-Chair of Covington's International Trade Practice Group
  • Frank Riemensperger, Chairman, Accenture Germany
  • Moderation: Noah Barkin, Visiting Fellow, Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) 

Closing Remarks

  • Joschka Fischer,former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Vice Chancellor

Farewell & Reception

  • Frank Sportolari, President, AmCham Germany

04:15 pm Reception and Get-Together


Please note that this program may be subject to change.

Noah Barkin, Visiting Fellow, Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS)

Noah Barkin is a Berlin-based journalist who has reported from over 20 countries in a 25-year career writing for Reuters, The Atlantic, The New York Times and other publications. He specializes in German and European political and economic issues and has focused in recent years on Europe's relationship with China and the implications of a rising China for transatlantic ties. Noah is currently a visiting academic fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. A native Californian, he has a Bachelor's in Political Science and French from UC Berkeley and a Master's in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary,Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy


Thomas Bareiß is Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism. Since 2005, Thomas Bareiß is elected Member of the German Bundestag. From 2010 to 2018 he was Representative for Energy Policy of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group. Since 2002 he is Advisory member of the state executive of the CDU Baden-Württemberg and since 2004 he is Chairman of the CDU in the region Zollernalb. Since 2011, he is Chairman of the CDU Württemberg-Hohenzollern. From 1999 to 2005 he was assistant to the managing director and head of financial controlling, electronic data processing and organisation in a textile company in Meßstetten, Baden-Württemberg.

Since 2018 he is member of the Executive Board of CDU Germany.

Sabine Bendiek, Chairwoman of the Management Board, Microsoft Germany

Sabine Bendiek has been Chairwoman of the Management Board, Microsoft Germany since January 2016. She holds a Master of Science degree in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge (MSc) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Mannheim. At the beginning of her career, Bendiek worked for McKinsey, Booz Allen as well as Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems. Subsequently, she was responsible for Dell’s Small and Medium Business in Germany, Switzerland and Austria where she contributed a significant share to the company’s earnings. Prior to joining Microsoft Germany, Bendiek held the position of Vice President and General Manager for EMC Germany. In her capacity as General Manager of EMC, Bendiek assumed responsibility for all business activities in the German market. She focused on the transformation of the company into a provider of hybrid cloud and software solutions. Meanwhile, Bendiek looks back on more than 20 years of professional experience as an executive in the technology industry. She is also a member of the executive board of the industry trade association BITKOM.

Ralf Brinkmann, President and Chairman of the Board, Dow Germany

Ralf Brinkmann is President and Chairman of the Board of Dow Germany. He assumed this role in February 2018. Brinkmann first joined Dow in 1992 as Sales Representative in Germany. In 1999, he took on the role as Business Manager for several Dow businesses in North America. In 2003, Brinkmann relocated to Europe as Global Business Leader and Business Development Director for Specialty Plastics. Shortly after, he was named Regional Commercial Director for Basic Plastics in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  In 2008, Brinkmann assumed the role as Commercial Vice President of Basic Chemicals and Performance Products EMEA leading the Sales and Marketing integration of Rohm and Haas for EMEA. In 2010, Brinkmann was appointed President and General Manager of Dow in Germany and Chairman of the Board of Dow Deutschland Inc. and member of the VCI Präsidium.
In 2014, Brinkmann relocated to Dow’s European headquarters in Horgen and joined the executive operating team of The Dow Chemical Company: he assumed responsibility as Business President for Consumer Care until 2016, leading Dow’s efforts in Pharma, Food, Home and Personal Care. End 2016, he was appointed Business President for Building & Construction, leading this global business in the construction industry. Brinkmann has been a member of Dow’s European executive leadership team in Horgen, Switzerland since 2014 and Chairman of the Dow Olefinverbund GmbH board since 2008. Brinkmann earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Cologne, Germany.

Mung Chiang, Dean, Purdue University College of Engineering

Mung Chiang is the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and the Roscoe H. George Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. Prior to July 2017, he was the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. His research on communication networks received the 2013 Alan T. Waterman Award, the highest honor to scientists and engineers under the age of 40 in U.S. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Techhical Achievement Award, his research papers have been cited over 22,000 times and 23 of his advisees have become professors. He founded the Princeton EDGE Lab in 2009, which bridges the theory-practice gap in edge networking research by spanning from proofs to prototypes, and co-founded a few startup companies in mobile data, IoT and AI. He was also elected to the board of the global nonprofit Industrial Internet Consortium. A recipient of the ASEE Terman Education Award, his textbook “Networked Life,” popular science book “The Power of Networks,” and online courses have reached hundreds of thousands of students.

Joschka Fischer, former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Vice Chancellor

The former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany (1998-2005) led the Green Party in its first participation in government, both at the state (Hessen) and federal levels. From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Fischer held a professorship at the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University (US). Mr. Fischer is a founding partner of Joschka Fischer and Company.

Peter Flanagan, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP; Co-Chair of Covington's International Trade Practice Group

Peter Flanagan counsels clients on a broad range of compliance requirements affecting international trade and investment. These include most notably export controls, economic sanctions constraints, defense trade limitations, and the implications of related non-U.S. requirements. He has deep experience in assisting multinational clients with complex compliance, enforcement, and licensing matters before the key U.S. trade controls agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and State.

For more information, see his full CV.

Olaf Gersemann, Chief Editor Business, Finance & Real Estate, DIE WELT
Olaf Gersemann has been Chief Editor for Business, Finance and Real Estate at DIE WELT since 2010. Before joining DIE WELT, Mr. Gersemann was the team leader of the foreign correspondents at the "Financial Times Germany", the Washington Correspondent and Business & Policy Editor for "Wirtschaftswoche", as well an editor for Careers and Young Careers at "Handelsblatt".

Annette Green, Vice President DACH, SAS Institute


Annette Green has managed the German, Austrian, and Swiss operations of SAS in her role as vice president of the DACH region since January 1, 2019. Green has been part of the global SAS team for nearly 30 years. Before returning to her native Germany, she held many leadership positions in sales and marketing during her career at SAS corporate headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, most recently as vice president of the Commercial Division. From 2005 to 2015, she achieved success managing a business unit focused on vertical sales to large organizations (annual revenues in excess of US $1 billion) as its general manager. In her prior role as general manager of the East Business Unit, she managed a team of more than 100 employees and expanded the unit’s focus to the entire US East Coast geography. During her long tenure at SAS, Green has acquired extensive experience in working with global enterprises.
Green holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from North Carolina State University, where she also completed graduate-level studies in the School of Management Sciences.

Eric Holder, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP & former 82nd Attorney General of the United States

Eric Holder advises clients on complex investigations and litigation matters, including those that are international in scope and involve significant regulatory enforcement issues and substantial reputational concerns. Mr. Holder, who was a partner at Covington from 2001 to 2009, rejoined the firm after serving for six years as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States.
Including his tenure as Attorney General, Mr. Holder has served in government for more than thirty years, having been appointed to various positions requiring U.S. Senate confirmation by Presidents Obama, Clinton and Reagan.

For more information, see his full CV.

Dr. Thomas Hueck, Chief Economist, Robert Bosch GmbH

Dr. Thomas Hueck was appointed Chief Economist of Robert Bosch GmbH in 2010. In that function he is responsible for conducting macroeconomic forecasts and economic as well as political analysis supporting strategic developments of the company. Since 2017 he is also responsible for Corporate Strategy Asia Pacific.
Hueck was born in Goslar, Germany on June 28, 1966. He studied business sciences in Hannover and economics in Munich where he also made his PhD. He started his professional career as an economist at Deutsche Bundesbank – the German Central Bank – in Frankfurt and continued at HypoVereinsbank,  Munich to become head of the economic department. 2005 he joined Bosch where he had been responsible for business development in China 2008 - 2010.

Dieter Kempf, President, BDI (Federation of German Industries)

Dieter Kempf is President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), a position he has held since January 2017. In addition, he serves on various supervisory boards and as honorary professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Previously, Kempf has been President of Bitkom and has held positions at Datev, including 20 years as Chairman, and Arthur & Young (now Ernst & Young).  For more information, see his full CV.

Jack Kingston, former Member of U.S. Congress & Principal, Squire Patton Boggs

Jack Kingston is former US Representative and Squire Patton Boggs Principal and helps clients address public policy challenges in legislatures and regulatory agencies around the world. In Congress, Rep. Kingston earned a reputation as an effective legislator with a keen ability to resolve complex matters by reaching across the aisle. Rep. Kingston’s leadership of the largest domestic appropriations subcommittee and his senior position on the defense appropriations subcommittee give him a deep understanding of the policy and financial challenges global clients face. In addition, Rep. Kingston assists with business development and strategic counseling for the firm’s leadership in specialty areas, including agriculture, defense, education, energy, financial services, healthcare, tax, transportation, trade and international business. Rep. Kingston served Georgia's 1st Congressional District in Southeast Georgia from 1993 to 2015. He also served as vice-chairman of the House Republican Conference, the sixth-ranking post among House Republicans, from 2002 to 2006.Prior to his service in Congress, Rep. Kingston was a member of the Georgia State Legislature, and was vice-president of Palmer & Cay Insurance Services. He was the only Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) in Congress.

Throughout his career in public service, Rep. Kingston received more than 40 awards from various non-partisan interest groups on a diversity of issues. He has been named in each term as a "Taxpayer’s Hero,” and has been recognized as "Senior Friendly" and "A Guardian of Small Business." He was also awarded the "Watchdog of the Treasury Award," and the US Chamber of Commerce’s "Spirit of Enterprise Award.”

Inga Michler, Economic Reporter, WELT

Dr. Inga Michler is an economist and business reporter for WELT, where she started as a financial editor in 1998. Her writing focuses primarily on major economic trends as well as on family businesses in Germany, philanthropy and education. Michler is also an experienced moderator, chairing large conferences for the paper such as the "Welt-Waehrungskonferenz" and "Weltkonferenz Frauen im Top-Management" and has published three books. For more information, see her full CV.

Frank Riemensperger , Chairman of the Management Board, Accenture

Frank Riemensperger studied Computer Science in Germany and the United States, graduating in 1987. He joined Accenture in 1989 and has been Senior Managing Director of Accenture in Germany, Switzerland and Austria since 2009. In this role, Frank is responsible for strategy development and execution as well as Accenture’s market development in the German-speaking countries. The expert for digitization holds a seat in the acatech Senate, the German Academy for Engineering Sciences. Frank is a member of the top executive committee of the German IT association BITKOM. Furthermore, he is a member of the Baden-Badener Unternehmer-Gespräche (BBUG) and a jury member of several awards including the Top 500 German Growth Champions, the German Innovation Prize and the German CIO of the year. Together with Prof. Henning Kagermann, President of acatech, Frank heads the German research project “Smart Service Welt – Digital Transformation of the German Industry”. The aim of the project is to develop recommendations for German industry leaders and policy makers to lead the digital transformation of Germany’s key industries.


Gordon Riske, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), KION GROUP AG


Gordon Riske has been the Chief Executive Officer at KION Group since 2008. He counts three decades of board-level experience at well-known German engineering companies. Previously, Riske was the CEO at both DEUTZ AG and KUKA Roboter GmbH. He was born in the US and studied electrical engineering at the Lawrence Institute of Technology in Southfield, Michigan. He also holds a BBA from the Oekreal School of Business, Zurich, and participated in an MBA program with the GSBA, Zurich. He is a member of the Executive Board for the non-profit Hertie-Stiftung GmbH, Frankfurt, and a Non-Executive Director at Weichai Power Co., Ltd., Weifang, People's Republic of China.

Christine Rupp, Member of the Executive Committee, Deloitte Consulting

Christine Rupp is a Partner and Member of the Executive Committee at Deloitte Consulting. She is responsible for Deloitte’s Transformation Practice as well as for People & Talent Affairs.
Christine Rupp advises clients in large-scale strategic transformation programs. She gained international experience in 20 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. In addition, she is a certified Executive Coach.
Prior to Deloitte, Christine Rupp was a Partner and Member of the Central European Leadership Team at PwC Strategy&. She was accountable for the Telecommunications, Media and High-Tech Sector as well as for People & Talent Affairs.
Before working for PwC she was a Member of the Central European Leadership Team at Booz & Company. Christine Rupp studied Economics and Business Administration at the École Supérieure de Commerce in Reims, France and the European School of Business in Reutlingen, Germany.

Frank Sportolari, President, AmCham Germany & President, UPS Germany

Frank Sportolari is AmCham Germany's President and has been President of United Parcel Service Deutschland since September 2011. Frank Sportolari joined UPS in 1986 as a management trainee in the Finance and Accounting department in Munich, Germany. He held various positions of increasing responsibility within the Finance and Accounting function, including working as the Controller in Munich, Cologne and Neuss for UPS in Germany, before moving to Madrid in 1996 where he was the Controller for UPS Spain & Portugal. From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Sportolari had Controller assignments at UPS Italy and the Europe Region headquarters in Brussels, where he coordinated the UPS Controllers across the Europe Region. In 2002, Frank was appointed Country Manager of UPS Italy, a position he held until 2004, when he took on the role of European Region Strategy Manager for 3 years before returning to Italy as Managing director from 2007 until 2011.



Tim Stratford, Former U.S. Trade Representative, Chairman of AmCham China & Partner at Covington & Burling Beijing

Tim Stratford is managing partner in Covington & Burling LLP’s Beijing office. He is also presently serving as Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. Mr. Stratford’s practice is focused on advising international clients doing business in China. As a former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative, Mr. Stratford is the most senior former U.S. trade official working as a member of the U.S. business community in China. Except for the five years he spent in Washington, DC in government service (2005-2010), Mr. Stratford has lived and worked continuously in the greater China region since 1982.

For more information, see his full CV.

"Neuroscience: Leveraging the invisible"

Dr. Benny Briesemeister, Scientific Lead of Deloitte Neuroscience Institute
Martin Pelach, Manager,
Deloitte Neuroscience Institute

In the age of digitalization, companies know more about their customers than ever before. However, to better understand the needs and motives underlying customers’ actions, we must examine the core of human decision-making, which is hidden in unconscious processes of the brain. The Deloitte Neuroscience Institute (DNI) supports companies in finding out what customers truly think about their brand, how much they are really willing to pay for products and services, and how they use specific offerings in real-life circumstances. In this session, we will present tools that combine neuroscientific methods with our industry expertise and thus allow us to derive specific and actionable recommendations. From Mindreading to Eyetracking and Needsphere Testing, join us to uncover the implicit determinants of human behavior.

"Artificial Intelligence & Ethics: Fairness, Accountability, Trust"

Dr. Andreas Becks, Head of Business Analytics DACH, SAS Institute

Artificial intelligence is everywhere. Algorithms determine an increasing part of our lives. They automatically make decisions that were previously made by humans. The traceability of these complex results mostly exceeds our intellectual capabilities. Inevitably, questions arise regarding governance and ethics. Fairness, accountability and trust are necessary prerequisites for the success of AI: unbiased algorithms, trust in data and models as well as comprehensible decision making. Awareness of the ethical issues involved in the use of AI technology is growing among all those involved. Enterprises need to ensure that investments in AI deliver the expected value and employees can rely on AI applications. It's about protecting one's own organization and brand, and about the trust of citizens and consumers. What does it take for this to work? How can we build trusted AI applications? Do we have the techniques to meet this challenge?

Dr. Andreas Becks, Head of Business Analytics DACH, SAS Institute


Andreas Becks is responsible for Business Analytics in the DACH region. He is specialized in artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and machine learning and he has been designing analytical solutions for data-based decisions in complex business applications for 20 years. Andreas Becks holds a degree in computer science, a doctorate in artificial intelligence from RWTH Aachen University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen.


"Trade in times of the Trump Administration"

Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner, Head of External Economic Policy, BDI
Daniel Andrich, President & CEO, Representative of German Industry & Trade (RGIT)


Under the Trump Administration, US trade policy agenda has undergone a significant transformation and disrupted the status quo of international trade. President Trump entered office in January 2017 pledging “fair trade” policies for the US, and trade will likely continue to top his priorities in 2020, especially as several key policy changes develop and legal deadlines ripen in the coming months. With the Trump Administration having submitted legislation to Congress that will implement the modernized US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), as well as having ambitions for trade negotiations with Japan, the EU, and a post-Brexit UK, Frank Samolis will discuss what to expect for the US trade policy agenda in the remaining year in Trump’s first term as President, as he faces a divided new EU Commission, and an upcoming election campaign in 2020.



Registration & Accommodation

Registration & Admission Fees

Admission Fees

€ 200 for members
€ 300 for non-members & guests
The fee includes all stated parts of the program.

By using your member login you will receive the AmCham member price.

For questions regarding the registration process please contact conferences(at)


There is no room contingent this year. We recommend booking a room at a hotel close to the conference venue, such as the nhow Berlin or the Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof.

Mandy Elgner

Head of Conferences & Events

+49 69 929104-30

Julia Zhao

Specialist, Events

+49 69 929104-35

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Media Partner



Take a look at last year's Transatlantic Business Conference 2018

Conference 2018