Transatlantic Business Conference

The 12th Annual Transatlantic Business Conference will take place on Nov. 29-30, 2018 (by invitation only).

For the first time, this year's conference will take place in Berlin. 

Given the current protectionist developments and the uncertainties in the transatlantic marketplace, the conference will focus on trade, digitization, and on restoring trust in the European-German-American partnership.

More information will be available soon.


Haus der Commerzbank, Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin

Registration & Welcome (starting at 4:00 pm)
Division of participants into two groups

Site Visits: Innovation Spaces

  • Commerzbank AG: Innovation Center #openspace
  • Dell EMC: Pivotal Lab
  • Ottobock: Future Lab Berlin-Bötzow

Learn more about the site visits by clicking the respective button above.

Haus der Commerzbank, Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin


  • Frank Sportolari, President, AmCham Germany
  • Marcus Chromik, Chief Risk Officer, Commerzbank AG

Discussion: Future of Infrastructure

  • Rodney Slater, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs, and former US Secretary of Transportation
  • Bernhard Mattes, President, VDA
  • Moderation: Ryan Heath, Political Editor, POLITICO Europe

Dinner Reception

Please note that this program may be subject to change.

Axel-Springer-Haus, Axel-Springer-Straße 65, 10888 Berlin

Registration | Welcome Coffee (starting at 8:00 am)

Welcome & Opening Remarks

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

Keynote Speech
James R. Fitterling, CEO, The Dow Chemical Company

Panel: The Transatlantic Partnership - Catching Opportunities and Facing Challenges

  • Alexander Linn, Partner, Deloitte
  • Wolfgang Eder, CEO, Voestalpine AG
  • Donatus Kaufmann, Member of the Management Board, thyssenkrupp AG
  • Gisbert Rühl, CEO, Klöckner & Co. SE
  • Moderation: Inga Michler, Economic Reporter, DIE WELT

Coffee Break

Lisa Davis, Member of the Managing Board, Siemens AG

Breakout Sessions

  • White & Case: Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Management
  • Deloitte: Blockchain and the Future of Supply Chain Management
  • Squire Patton Boggs: Trade Under Trump


Speeches by

  • Richard A. Grenell, Ambassador of the United States of America to Germany
  • Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Panel: Bidding Strategies in Times of Trade Dispute (working title)

  • Frank Riemensperger, Chairman of the Management Board, Accenture Deutschland (tbc)
  • Scott Paul, President, Alliance for American Manufacturing
  • Moderation: Olaf Gersemann, Chief Editor Business, Finance & Real Estate, DIE WELT

Fireside Chat: Trade Policy and Security Policy at the Crossroads

  • A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State (tbc)
  • Antje Leendertse, Political Director, Federal Foreign Office (tbc)
  • Moderation: Ryan Heath, Political Editor, POLITICO Europe

Reception and Get-Together (starting at 3:30 pm)

Please note that this program may be subject to change.

Marcus Chromik, Chief Risk Officer at Commerzbank AG

Dr. Marcus Chromik is Chief Risk Officer at Commerzbank AG. His areas of responsibility include business segment asset and capital recovery, big data & advanced analytics, and group credit risk management. Previously, Dr. Chromik has worked for Deutsche Postbank AG and McKinsey & Company, Inc. He holds a PhD in Physics from Munich University. For more information, see his full CV

Lisa Davis, Member of the Managing Board, Siemens AG

Lisa Davis is a Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG. Based in Houston, Texas, she is also Chair and CEO of Siemens Corporation, USA. Her responsibilities include the Power and Gas Division as well as the Power Generation Services Division. Previously, Davis has worked for Shell, Texaco, and Exxon. She holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. For more information, see her full CV.

Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board, voestalpine AG

Dr. Wolfgang Eder is Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG. He joined the company in 1978; since 2004 he has been the Group CEO. Under Eder’s leadership the voestalpine Group has tripled its annual revenue to EUR 13 billion, and has evolved from a traditional, mainly Austria-based steel producing company into a global technology and capital goods group.

Jim Fitterling, CEO, The Dow Chemical Company &
COO, DowDuPont Materials Science Division

Jim Fitterling is the chief executive officer of The Dow Chemical Company and chief operating officer for the Materials Science Division of DowDuPont, a nearly $80 billion holding company comprised of The Dow Chemical Company and DuPont with the intent to form independent, publicly traded companies in agriculture, materials science and specialty products sectors.

As a member of Dow’s most senior leadership, Fitterling – who joined Dow in 1984– has played a key role in developing and executing Dow’s strategy to invest in a market-driven portfolio of advantaged and technology-enabled businesses that create value for shareholders and customers. He served as the business lead in the successful launch of Dow’s Sustainability 2025 goals. 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".

Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Germany

Richard Grenell has been U.S. Ambassador to Germany since May 2018. Previously, he was a partner with Capitol Media Partners. His public sector experience encompasses work as National Security and Foreign Affairs Spokesman for Mitt Romney as well as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Ambassador to the UN. He has also served as Alternate Representative to the UN Security Council. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. For more information, see his full CV.

Ryan Heath, Political Editor, POLITICO Europe

Ryan is political editor at POLITICO Europe, with particular responsibility for shaping POLITICO’s 2019 European elections coverage. Ryan served for three years as the original author of our Brussels Playbook column. He began writing for national newspapers in his native Australia in 1999, and is the author of two books including the cult classic “Please Just F* Off, It’s Our Turn Now,” an account of how the Baby Boomers / 68er generation are viewed by the Millenial generation. After working as a speechwriter for the British civil service, he joined the European Commission working for President Jose Manuel Barroso and Vice President Neelie Kroes as a spokesperson. Ryan is regular policy commentator on outlets such as BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Deutsche Welle. He has reported from major events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, G7 summits and US political conventions.

Donatus Kaufmann, Member of the Executive Board, thyssenkrupp AG

Dr. Donatus Kaufmann is member of the Executive Board of thyssenkrupp since 2014 and responsible for Legal, Compliance, Technology, Innovation and Sustainability. Furthermore, he has the responsibility for the regions North America and Western Europe. Prior to this, Dr. Kaufmann worked as Group General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Metro. At the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, he held the same positions and additionally served as Head of Corporate Division Law, Trademarks, Insurance and Real Estate. He also was head of the family office of the group’s owner family. Donatus Kaufmann studied law, history, political science and business administration at the Universities of Göttingen, Bonn, Paris-Sorbonne and Hagen, received a Doctorate in International Commercial Law and ran through the International Executive Program at INSEAD. His areas of expertise include international trade, regulatory affairs and risk management.

For more information, see his full CV.

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.

Alexander Linn, Business Tax Partner, Deloitte

Dr. Alexander Linn is a Business Tax Partner at Deloitte. He holds a PhD in Economics and with more than 10 years of business experience, he specializes in restructuring, sustainable strategic tax planning, business model optimization and EU law. Alexander Linn advises large and medium-sized multinational corporations involving both German- and US-based companies. He is a member of the Deloitte Germany EU Competence Group.

Bernhard Mattes, President, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)

Bernhard Mattes was born in Wolfsburg in 1956 and studied economics at the University of Hohenheim. He held a variety of sales-related posts at BMW from 1982 to 1999. He then joined the Management Board at Ford Werke, which he chaired from 2002 to 2016, and simultaneously (from 2006) held the post of Vice President of the European Ford Customer Service Division. Since January 1, 2017, he has had a seat on the supervisory board at Ford Werke and on the Presidential Board of DEKRA. On March 1, 2018, Mattes became President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).


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.

Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Dr. Ulrich Nussbaum has served as State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy since April 2018. He is also professor of International and European Commercial Law and Financial Relations at Jacobs University Bremen. Previously, Dr. Nussbaum has held the position as Chairman of the Presiding Board at the German Transport Forum as well as Senator of Finance in Berlin and Bremen.  His experience also includes various roles and senior positions in the fisheries sector and in the fields of administration, finance and trade. He holds a degree in law and political science.


For more information, see his full CV.

Gisbert Rühl, Chairman of the Management Board, Kloeckner & Co.

With a number of leadership positions in industry and consulting already under his belt, Gisbert Rühl joined the Klöckner & Co Management Board as CFO in 2005. He has served as Chairman of the Board since 2009. Gisbert is currently driving forward Klöckner & Co’s digital transformation and the development of an open industry platform in which the company plays a pioneering role within the steel industry.

For more information, see his full CV.



Rodney E. Slater, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs, and former US Secretary of Transportation

Former US Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater is a partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C. He helps clients integrate their interests in the overall vision for the transportation system of the 21st Century – a vision he set as transportation secretary to promote a safer, more efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable worldwide transportation infrastructure. Secretary Slater also helps state and local government clients address the vexing challenge of closing the gap between transportation demand and capacity by employing public/private strategies and innovative financing solutions. Secretary Slater’s practice focuses on many of the policy and transportation objectives that were set under his leadership, including automobile use and development, aviation competition and congestion mitigation, maritime initiatives, high-speed rail corridor development, and overall transportation safety and funding. He continues to embrace the framework he established as secretary for making transportation decisions that called for more open, collaborative and flexible decision making across the transportation enterprise here and abroad.


For more information, see his full CV.

#openspace is a digitalization platform for small and medium-sized german enterprises (SMEs). 

Customers include but are not limited to the clients of its parent company, Commerzbank AG. #openspace offers its customers various solutions for all stages of the digital transformation. Main services are multi-faceted workshop formats individually tailored to the specific customer. #openspace also works closely with individual parts of the customer’s value chain as well as with strategic partners contributing various areas of expertise. The aim is to enable executives and employees of SMEs to independently develop their own digital future.

In addition, #openspace offers access to a wide-ranging network of technology experts and start-ups. Openspace GmbH was founded in January 2017 and is based in Berlin. It maintains regional networks in Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.

Learn more about #openspace here.

Pivotal Labs provide a range of innovation services to support customers on their digital transformation journey.  They help customers transform their organization by mastering agile methodologies and focusing on new ways to build software on a modern platform with powerful capabilities. They extend beyond the immersive Pivotal Labs environment to drive alignment and enablement, cultivating a new way of working, which supports continuous innovation. 

Learn more about Pivotal Labs here

In the run-up to its 100th anniversary in 2019, the global medtech company Ottobock has systematically been expanding its presence in Berlin. In summer the company moved into its new spaces at the former Bötzow brewery in the Prenzlauer Berg district: The Ottobock Future Lab. Next to the company’s Human Mobility business unit, strategic units such as Digital Marketing, Corporate Communications and Corporate Strategy work together in a modern and innovative office landscape at the historical landmark. Last but not least the researchers and developers of the Ottobock Future Lab complement the interdisciplinary set-up at the site with their state-of-the-art equipment, such as computer-aided design programs and 3D printing to develop and test new ideas and prototypes.

Discover the future of human mobility and visit this unique location that was developed by Professor Hans Georg Näder with British architect Sir David Chipperfield based on a master plan.

Learn more about the Ottobock Future Lab here.

"Trade Under Trump" 


  • Frank R. Samolis, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
  • Alexander P. Imberg, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

More information will follow soon.



"Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Management"


  • Dr. Robert Weber, Partner, White & Case LLP
  • Dr. Alexander Kiefner, Partner, White & Case LLP

Artificial intelligence has long since arrived at the level of corporate management. But what are the legal requirements for the use of such intelligent systems either for the preparation of management decisions or for autonomous decision-making?  In our workshop we will discuss the legal framework for management and supervisory boards regarding the use of artificial intelligence and the challenges of implementing suitable monitoring systems.

Dr. Robert Weber, Partner, White & Case LLP, Frankfurt a.M.

Robert Weber advises large international corporations on corporate law and on M&A transactions (including tax and capital market law issues). During his last 20 years as a lawyer he has structured numerous complicated legal matters and major transactions and has provided successful solutions to his clients. Based on his experience he gives clear and reliable legal judgement to management and supervisory board members when difficult business decisions have to be made. He also advises on corporate governance, compliance and liability issues. 

Dr. Alexander Kiefner, Partner, White & Case LLP, Frankfurt a.M.

Alexander Kiefner advises companies on all aspects of corporate law, with a focus on the law of listed stock corporations and affiliated companies, including capital markets law issues. Members of the management and supervisory board benefit from his expertise in the areas of corporate governance, compliance, corporate litigation, and intra-group financing. Noted for his cutting-edge knowledge of corporate law, Alexander Kiefner has undertaken various speaking engagements for professional organisations such as Deutsches Aktieninstitut, Börsenzeitung and Bund der Unternehmensjuristen.

Registration & Participation

Thanks to the generous support of our event partners as well as the principles of the Axel-Springer-Haus, the 12th Transatlantic Business Conference is free of charge. For this reason, we may not be able to acknowledge every registration. Attendance is by invitation only.



There is no room contingent this year. We recommend booking a room at a hotel close to the conference venue, such as the Berlin Mariott Hotel, the Grand Hyatt Berlin, the Westin Grand Berlin, or the Sofitel Hotel Berlin.

Mandy Elgner

Manager, Head of Conferences & Events

+49 69 929104-30

Monika Kreutz

Manager, Conferences & Special Events

+49 30 2130056-22

Media Partner