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

  • Accenture: Fjord Berlin
  • Commerzbank: Innovation Center #openspace
  • Dell: Pivotal Lab
  • Ottobock: Future Lab Berlin-Bötzow

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, Former US Secretary of Transportation
  • Bernhard Mattes, President, VDA
  • Prof. Hans Georg Näder, CEO, Ottobock (tbc)
  • Moderation: Ryan Heath, Political Editor, POLITICO Europe

Dinner Reception

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: A New Outlook for Business and Politics

  • Alexander Linn, Partner, Deloitte
  • Wolfgang Eder, CEO, Voestalpine AG
  • Donatus Kaufmann, Member of the Management Board, thyssenkrupp AG
  • Gisbert Rühl, CEO, Klöckner & Co. SE

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
  • AmCham Germany NextGen


Speeches by

  • US Ambassador Richard A. Grenell
  • Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (tbc)

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

Fireside Chat: Trade Policy and Security Policy at the Crossroads

  • A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State (tbc)
  • Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office
  • Moderation: Ryan Heath, Political Editor, POLITICO Europe

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

Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office

Niels Annen has been Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office since March 2018. Until his inauguration, MP Annen acted as spokesperson on foreign affairs for the SPD Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag. He was elected to the Bundestag for the first time in 2005 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017. Mr Annen has been a member of the SPD’s Executive Committee since 2003.

Niels Annen was a senior resident fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Washington, D.C. (2010 to 2011), and a researcher at the International Policy Analysis unit of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (2011 to 2013). He holds several honorary offices, such as member of the Executive Board of the German Council on Foreign Relations (GCFR) and member of the Advisory Council of the Atlantic Initiative. From 2001 to 2004 he was chairman of the Federal Executive Board of the Young Socialists. Mr Annen holds a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).


Scott Paul, President, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Scott N. Paul is President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), a partnership established in 2007 by some of America's leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union. Scott served as a member of the White House Manufacturing Jobs Initiative before resigning on August 15, 2017. He authored a chapter in the 2013 book ReMaking America and has written extensively about Alexander Hamilton's role in forming U.S. national economic policy. Scott currently serves as the Board Chair of the National Skills Coalition and on the Board of Visitors of the Political Science Department at the Pennsylvania State University. He sits on the Leadership Council of the Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight. 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.

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".

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.

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.

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

Take a look at last year's Transatlantic Business Conference 2017

Conference 2017