He has been pushing, pushing, warning, and demanding for a long time - now Thomas Sattelberger can prove whether he, with his new boss, his party and the traffic light coalition, will manage to promote Germany to the top group of the global digital economy.

The future Minister of Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, makes him Parliamentary State Secretary, as does her fellow parliamentary group Jens Brandenburg.

Manfred Schäfers

Business correspondent in Berlin.

  • Follow I follow

The FDP politician was already one of the colorful personalities in the Bundestag in the last legislative period. In his previous life, he was Chief Human Resources Officer at Deutsche Telekom and Continental. Before that, he had worked in leading positions for Daimler and Lufthansa. There are not many former top managers among the MPs. On the contrary. The shirt-sleeved Swabian from Munderkingen an der Donau (born 1949), who despite his age is bursting with energy, made it into the Bundestag for the second time via the FDP Bavarian state list in autumn.

What worries him could be read in a FAZ guest article at the beginning of August. On the one hand, it demanded a race to catch up in the stunted fields of the platform, biotech and space economy. The model for him are digital freedom zones in the vicinity of the world-class universities of Oxford and Cambridge. On the other hand, he speaks of the need for Germany to upgrade its established mainstay in machine, plant and car manufacturing. “But not like the Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier, who wants to conjure up new European industrial champions by fusing old elephants like the train divisions of Siemens and Alstom.” Rather, it must succeed in marrying the machine house Germany with artificial intelligence and software.

Sattelberger has an amazing career in every respect.

As the Munzinger archive shows, he not only broke off his teaching degree in the troubled 68s, but also belonged to a Maoist sect for a while before he made a career in business.

There was a lot of trouble at Telekom when he pushed through the outsourcing of 50,000 service employees to keep costs down.

At the same time, he was a pioneer in the Dax group when it came to promoting women.