At the Hanover Trade Fair last year, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser presented Chancellor Angela Merkel with a 3D-printed figurine of herself. A great PR opportunity reflecting the industrial giant’s technological prowess was immortalized in a picture of the moment.
“This is the most important photo of the year for Siemens,” one of the Munich-based company’s managers said at the time.
The picture was actually more than that. It portrayed Ms. Merkel as very close to Mr. Kaeser, one of Germany’s most influential executives, and a trusted courtier of the chancellor.
The 60-year-old bears no official credentials and would balk at the notion of having any direct influence over the chancellor, but Ms. Merkel appreciates his counsel and often brings him along on international trips as part of business delegations. Their rapport has helped shape German economic policies and the way Europe’s largest economy projects itself to the world.