Former Foreign Minister and SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel is according to media reports promising candidate for the post of President of the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). In the race was also the former Minister of State at the Chancellery, Hildegard Müller (CDU), reported Bild am Sonntag (Bams) and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) . Also the Tagesspiegel and the Manager Magazin had reported about it.
Gabriel is the Bams's preferred candidate of both the auto companies and the suppliers and family businesses. "The order is fixed," the report said, informed. "If no unbridgeable differences with Gabriel occur, he will be the new president." Accordingly, Gabriel has already signaled to take over the post. According to the FAS , the issue is still contentious.
A decision on the successor of VDA boss Bernhard Mattes is reported to fall in early November. Mattes had announced in mid-September to retire as Germany's top car lobbyist. He resigns his office at the end of the year.
Müller would be the first VDA boss
Gabriel announced only a few weeks ago, in November to resign his parliamentary mandate prematurely. He sits since 2005 in the Bundestag. From 2009 to 2017 he was chairman of the SPD. He was also environment, economic and foreign minister. Since June 2018 Gabriel works as an author for media of the publishing group Dieter von Holtzbrinck (DvH Media), to which besides the Handelsblatt and the Tagesspiegel also the ZEIT and ZEIT ONLINE belong. Gabriel had declared in 2018 that he would not want to become a lobbyist after working in politics. "You should not knock on doors behind which you once sat," Gabriel had told the BamS at that time.
According to the FAS report, Müller also has opportunities to move up to the VDA. The VDA could sell as a sign of the departure, that a woman at the head of the car association would get for the first time, said a car manager of the newspaper. For the former Minister of State, she also spoke about her good contacts in the Union and her experience in the energy industry.
Müller was last on the board of the energy company Innogy. "At the moment I'm trying to get some distance on holiday and to recover after the very intense weeks," she told the FAS with a view to the speculation.