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Change of boss at the industry lobby club: CDU politician takes the initiative

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The “Initiative New Social Market Economy” (INSM) moves further to the right. The CDU politician Thorsten Alsleben is to take over the management of the lobby group, which was founded in 2000 by the metal industry associations, in the coming year. Alsleben, currently chief executive of the Mittelstands- und Wirtschaftsunion (MIT), is too reactionary even for the CDU chairman Friedrich Merz, according to association circles.

But apparently the overall metal general manager Oliver Zander has pushed through his first-name friend Thorsten in the regional associations. “The two are cut from the same evangelical cloth,” says one association. The position at the top of the INSM has to be filled again because Hubertus Pellengahr’s contract will not be extended after twelve years.

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Over the past 22 years, the regional associations of the metal industry have financed the INSM with a high three-digit million amount, so that it can influence public opinion-forming with campaigns, among other things. The lobby association, which has a budget of around seven million euros available in 2022, was not always happy.

Or rather, the INSM occasionally got caught between the fronts in the employer camp. For example, in June 2021, when Annalena Baerbock, like Moses, was shown on an INSM advertisement with commandment boards. The signs included prohibitions such as “You must not fly” and “You must not drive a combustion engine car”. An original idea in the federal election campaign, thought the INSM.

Oliver Zander, CEO of Gesamtmetall since 2013, wants to make his intimate friend Thorsten Alsleben head of INSM.
© Gesamtmetall/dpa
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Steffen Kampeter, General Manager of the Confederation of Employers’ Associations (BDA), reacted more outraged than the Green politician herself. Ironically, Kampeter, who came to the top of the BDA on the CDU ticket six years ago and replaced the long-time CDU man Reinhard Göhner. “Personal disparagement and the unsuccessful use of Christian symbolism are not appropriate,” said Kampeter, which in turn was rated as disloyal behavior or “shot in one’s own hunting party” in their own ranks.

Campeter against zander

Kampeter’s reaction was only superficially related to his sense of style. Rather, he wanted to take revenge on Oliver Zander/Gesamtmetall because he had previously signed an INSM complaint against the Supply Chain Act with other associations.

The BDA also signed because BDA President Rainer Dulger, who was promoted to BDA two years ago from Gesamtmetall, supported the ad. Kampeter was duped because he had previously appreciated the supply chain compromise with the federal government. The Baerbock-Moses ad caused a stir – and gave Kampeter the opportunity to wedge against Zander.

Steffen Kampeter, since 2016 General Manager of the Confederation of Employers' Associations BDA and Oliver Zander's men's enemy.
Steffen Kampeter, since 2016 General Manager of the Confederation of Employers’ Associations BDA and Oliver Zander’s men’s enemy.
© Georg Moritz

Originally, the two top officials got along well. Zander, who has been General Manager at Gesamtmetall since 2013, was in good spirits when Kampeter replaced Göhner at BDA in 2016. Göhner led the BDA for 20 years. He considered the young Zander at the head of the powerful umbrella organization of the metal industry to be a lightweight and let him know that too. Zander saw himself on an equal footing with Kampeter. At least.

But Kampeter was increasingly criticized because, as head of the BDA, he missed the distance to the CDU. Kampeter was outraged when Rainer Dulger, then still President of the Metal Industry, dismissed CDU Economics Minister Peter Altmaier as the worst minister in the cabinet.

When Dulger called for the CDU to be elected in 2021, Kampeter thought it was okay. After Dulger became BDA president two years ago, many in the associations assumed that he would make Zander chief executive officer of the BDA. Especially since Dulger’s successor at Gesamtmetall, Stefan Wolf, thinks as much of Zander as Göhner once did. But nothing happened.

You can read more Tagesspiegel-Plus texts here

Hubertus Pellengahr is now a victim of the men’s games in the associations. After the Baerbock posse, he and his employees developed a new start concept for the INSM: a different tone without personal disparagement, positive suggestions for solutions instead of just grumbling.

But the Bavarian metal association manager Bertram Brossardt wanted to get rid of Pellengahr. According to reports, important member companies – BMW, Siemens, Audi, among others, belong to the Bavarian Association – have demanded consequences from Brossard from the Baerbock affair. These companies can now look forward to Thorsten Alsleben.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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