Industry Influencers

The new face of the auto lobby

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Take a look at that face. Source: Handelsblatt

Bernhard Mattes, the former head of Ford Germany, is poised to become president of the German automotive industry association VDA, inside sources told Handelsblatt. Mr. Mattes supposedly reached a final agreement last week, though similar rumors have circulated before.

The decision to put Mr. Mattes at the helm of VDA was made by an internal selection committee led by Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and closely coordinated with leading manufacturers and suppliers. Mr. Mattes declined to comment via a spokesman for the American Chamber of Commerce, an organization Mr. Mattes has led since 2013.

Insiders say Mr. Mattes’ nomination is a victory for Mr. Zetsche, who currently serves as president of the Association of European Car Manufacturers. By bringing the 61-year-old to Berlin to lead the VDA, Mr. Zetsche is making the association less political, but there are worries that Mr. Zetsche will be pulling Mr. Mattes’ strings like a puppet in no time.

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