For the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Germany) hosted its 118th Annual Membership Meeting in person at the Galopprennbahn in Düsseldorf on June 2, 2022. Members of AmCham Germany gathered to (re-)elect officers for their Executive Committee and Board of Directors. The Annual Membership Meeting was chaired by the President of the Chamber, Simone Menne, who has now been serving in such position for one year.
Pending confirmation, a new member to the Executive Committee is Gordon Riske (Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Gmbh) as Executive Vice President of the Chamber, and new members of the Board of Directors include Dr. Wolfgang Dierker (Apple GmbH), Philipp Justus, (Google Germany), Helene Lengler (SAS Institute GmbH), Rolf Najork (Robert Bosch GmbH), Christopher Porter (The Bank of New York Mellon), Dr. Rob Smith (KION Group AG) and Aylin Tüzel, (Pfizer Deutschland GmbH).
On the occasion of the Membership Meeting, as per tradition, a Business Conference involving high-ranking stakeholders in politics and transatlantic business took place under the name: "Germany's G7 Presidency: Evaluating Priorities for Transatlantic Cooperation." The topic of the conference revolved around the upcoming G7 Summit and Germany’s Presidency within the group, as well as current geopolitical challenges: effects of the Ukraine crisis, climate change, deepening transatlantic cooperation in the healthcare sector and advocating for a joint digital transatlantic economic zone. Prior to the kick-off of the Business Conference, German Federal Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner (FDP), joined Simone Menne for a live virtual address to discuss these issues in a general fashion and discuss economic policies and inflation.
Andreas Gerber, Chairman of the Management Board at Janssen Germany, held the welcome remarks. In his speech, he underlined the unprecedented challenges but also the major room of hope and opportunity for the transatlantic partnership which overarches many fields. At the core of this partnership lies the common basis on shared values with Western partners. Gerber further stressed how important the entrenched transatlantic networks between businesses, politicians, research institutions and societies will be for future challenges – especially regarding the future of the health sector.
The guest of honor, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann, delivered the keynote speech for the conference. She underscored the perennial value of the U.S-German alliance and how an even closer partnership has been forming in light of current Russian aggression in Ukraine. She expressed that the partnership relies on investment between its partners and mutual responsibility toward one another to lead towards a more prosperous and peaceful world.
Before kicking-off the transatlantic panel, Dr. Katrin Suder, Senior Advisor and former State Secretary, gave insights on the implications for the transatlantic partnership from a humanitarian, economic and security perspective. She further explained the growing importance of geopolitics for businesses with the main question concerning the future dynamics with China. To conclude, she raised the question about the future of the transatlantic partnership in terms of its expansion and alignment on several pending issues.
Following speakers comprised the panel:
Tim Cranton, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Europe
Andreas Gerber, Chairman of the Management Board, Janssen Germany
Agnes Michalik, Managing Director, Global Solutions Initiative Foundation
Dr. Katrin Suder, Board Member, Senior Advisor, former State Secretary
Roland Werner, Director Government Relations, Uber DACH & Southern Europe
Katie Gallus moderated the entire conference.
During the panel, each speaker included their respective angle on the challenges for the transatlantic partnership but also echoed the many possibilities for alignment and cooperation among businesses and politics. A central concern is the geopolitical shifts and their global repercussions in terms of economics and technology. Considering Germany’s G7 Presidency, Germany should bring forward the priorities of transatlantic business due to the alignment of values between the partners and as means to work towards a more sustainable future. This could also work towards diminishing further global fragmentation in terms of frameworks (i.e. of digital data management). All speakers underlined the importance of the G7 Presidency due to the strength of the connection of the actors and considering the several global challenges.
To conclude the event, an exchange between Dr. Hans-Christian Wirtz, Head of Government Affairs and Policy at Johnson & Johnson Germany and Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, State Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitization, Innovation and Energy, North Rhine-Westphalia took place. The speakers provided insights to Düsseldorf as an innovative transatlantic business location. Minister Pinkwart referred to Düsseldorf as a prime example of an ever-adapting region: Traditionally an energy-intensive region, North Rhine-Westphalia has increasingly adapted to renewable energies to become even more competitive. Both speakers acknowledged the importance of identifying common strategies between businesses and politics to become more prepared for the future and develop forward-thinking policies.
We wish to thank our co-organizer, Johnson & Johnson, cooperation partner, Microsoft, mobility partner Uber, our gold sponsors, Pfizer, Texas Instruments, UPS and silver sponsors, Coca Cola Deutschland, City of Düsseldorf and NRW. Global Business for making this Annual Membership Meeting a successful event.