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    Economics Grimm “astonished” by calls for resignation

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    Response to criticism from the committee
    Economics Grimm “astonished” by calls for resignation

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    The economist Grimm receives an email from her four colleagues on the Advisory Council. They suggest that Grimm give up her mandate on the committee if she accepts a position on the supervisory board at Siemens Energy. The expert is astonished by the request.

    The business expert Veronika Grimm was astonished by the criticism of her colleagues on the Advisory Council regarding a possible supervisory board position at Siemens Energy. She told “Spiegel” that she had the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Chancellery check in advance whether the supervisory board mandate was compatible with her role in the Advisory Council. There were no concerns there.

    In addition, Siemens Energy carried out its own compliance check on the issue. I didn't see any problems with this either. She had already informed the other members of the committee about the planned mandate last year and offered a discussion. However, there is no formal requirement for consent. According to the report, Grimm told “Spiegel” that she was “astonished” by what was happening now. Members of the committee have also held supervisory board mandates in the past. “This has always been dealt with collegially and conscientiously in the council.”

    Grimm is scheduled to be elected to the company's supervisory board at Siemens Energy's annual general meeting next week. The remaining four members of the Advisory Council had therefore accused Grimm of possible conflicts of interest and asked her in an email to leave the Advisory Council if she accepted the mandate.

    The decision at Siemens Energy was made in the fall

    Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit emphasized that the Council of Experts is “an independent body” with its own rules, which it applies “on its own initiative”. The panel's decision is therefore “relevant”. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Economics also referred to the independence of the committee. There are no legal reasons for incompatibility with a supervisory board mandate, “but it is of course important that conflicts of interest are avoided,” she added.

    The spokeswoman emphasized that Grimm was neither involved in the negotiations nor in the government's decision to give Siemens Energy a guarantee. The energy technology provider is deep in the red and made a loss of almost 4.6 billion euros in the last financial year due to problems in the wind power business. The company must be supported by government guarantees.

    The decision was made in the fall. Shortly before Christmas, Siemens Energy announced that Grimm would be elected to the supervisory board. She is a “recognized expert in energy markets and energy market design”. Grimm has been a member of the Advisory Council since April 2020.

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