Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder nominated to Russia's Rosneft board
A friend of the Russian president, former German Chancellor Schröder has been working for the Russian energy industry since he lost to Chancellor Merkel in 2005. Rosneft has been hit by Western sanctions.
A Russian government decree published late on Friday night nominated former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to join the board of the Russian energy giant Rosneft. The company is majority-owned by the Russian government and has its headquarters near the Kremlin in Moscow.
Schröder was nominated as a non-executive director of Rosneft as part of the company's plans to increase the number of board directors from nine to 11. His name was one of seven presented in the decree signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and published on the Russian government's website.
Rosneft is the world’s largest publicly traded petroleum company and is headed by Igor Sechin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who served as deputy prime minister until 2012. The company has been hit by Western sanctions following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.
In a speech at a Social Democratic (SPD) convention in June, Schröder said he was not anti-American but that: "What happens in the US needs to be openly and harshly criticized." Schröder no longer holds any active official position in the party.
Schröder signed the Nord Stream pipeline deal on behalf of Germany with Putin during his last days in the chancellor's office in September 2005, shortly before the federal elections that saw Angela Merkel replace him.
After he left the office he had held for seven years, Schröder began a new career as a businessman in Russia at the head of Nord Stream AG's shareholder committee from December 2005. In that role he oversaw the implementation of the project to operate the gas pipeline directly linking Russia and Germany, carrying Russian natural gas across the Baltic. His nomination on Friday marks a new high spot in his business career in Russia.
A major state player
Nord Stream AG is a subsidiary of Gazprom, the leading global gas producer which enjoys monopoly rights on gas pipeline exports from Russia. The company is majority owned by the government of Russia, although technically private.
In 2014, during the height of the fighting between pro-Moscow separatists and Ukrainian troops in the east of Ukraine, Schröder celebrated his 70th birthday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg at an event hosted by Nord Stream AG.
Rosneft acquired the assets of former oil giant Yukos in a three-year period from 2004 and by last year it had become the 51st largest company in the world with over $60 billion (50.7 billion euros) in sales.
Angela Merkel (CDU), since 2005
In 2005, Angela Merkel was elected Germany’s first female chancellor. One of her biggest challenges remains the current financial and economic crisis. She has adopted a pragmatic style of leadership. A former supporter of nuclear power, she has pushed for it to be phased out in Germany since the nuclear reactor accident in Fukushima. Merkel’s blazers come in all colors of the rainbow.
Gerhard Schröder (SPD), 1998-2005
After Kohl’s fourth term in office, German voters were in a mood for change. Gerhard Schröder became chancellor in the first coalition between the SPD and the Greens. For the first time, German armed forces were deployed abroad under a NATO mandate, including to Afghanistan. Schröder's reorganization of the welfare system, the so-called Agenda 2010, became a real test for his party.
Helmut Kohl (CDU), 1982-1998
His term lasted a record 16 years. For many years, Helmut Kohl was seen as sitting things out, in an unflinching, patient style, with no particular interest in big reforms. But his big historic achievement stands in stark contrast to this: German reunification and reconstruction of the former GDR. Kohl was not only the Chancellor of German Unity - he also pushed for further European integration.
Helmut Schmidt (SPD), 1974-1982
Helmut Schmidt took over as chancellor after his fellow party member Willy Brandt resigned. He had to deal with the oil crisis, inflation and economic stagnation. Schmidt’s style was fact-oriented and efficient. He took a hard stance towards left-wing extremist group Red Army Faction (RAF), rejecting its demands. He had to step down as a result of a no-confidence vote in parliament.
Willy Brandt (SPD), 1969-1974
Social upheaval in Germany led to a change in politics, with Willy Brandt becoming the first Social Democratic chancellor. When he kneeled before the memorial in the former Warsaw Ghetto, it was a historic gesture of seeking forgiveness for Nazi cruelty and a sign of reconciliation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his contribution to easing tensions with countries in the east.
Kurt Georg Kiesinger (CDU), 1966-1969
Kurt Georg Kiesinger forged Germany’s first grand coalition between the CDU and SPD. The government managed to add new impetus to the country’s stagnating economy. Youth took to the streets after the government introduced emergency laws, giving the state special rights in case of crisis, beginning the student movement. Kiesinger’s role under Nazi rule was hotly debated in Germany.
Ludwig Erhard (CDU), 1963-1966
In 1963, the CDU urged 87-year-old Adenauer to step down. Ludwig Erhard was chosen as his successor, having earned some popularity as minister of economics. He supported social economics and become the "father" of the west-German economic boom. He was rarely seen without a cigar in his mouth and is said to have smoked 15 per day. In 1966, Erhard stepped down as chancellor.
Konrad Adenauer (CDU), 1949-1963
Konrad Adenauer was the first German chancellor. During his term in office, the young federal republic became a sovereign state, with foreign policies looking towards the west. His style of governing was seen as authoritarian. Adenauer was from the Rhineland region and pushed for Bonn to become the German capital. But he was never a great fan of the Rhineland's popular Carnival tradition.