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 Workshop Transatlantic Relations 

The opening panel of the German-American Business Day deals with the current status of transatlantic economic relations. Experienced experts and successful company representatives will discuss their perspectives as part of the opening panel.

The focus of the discussion is the interdependence of the US economy with the German economy as well as current political and economic developments after the US election.  Common future topics such as climate protection, energy and cyber security should also be discussed.

The audience learns background information first-hand. The panelists from both countries introduce topics that can be taken up again and dealt with in more detail in the following workshops.

Our speakers

Thomas hostage

Lord Mayor, state capital Düsseldorf

Thomas Geisel has been mayor of the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia since September 2nd, 2014. Born in Swabia, he studied law and political science in Freiburg and Geneva and holds several degrees (1988 Master of Arts (politics) at Georgetown University in Washington, DC; 1990 1st state law examination in Freiburg; 1992 Master in Public Administration at Harvard University ). At the same time, Thomas Geisel started in 1990 as a legal advisor to the SPD parliamentary group in the People's Chamber of the GDR, then became personal advisor to the then SPD federal manager Karlheinz Blessing in Bonn. In 1994 he passed the major state examination in law in Berlin. He was then a consultant and, from 1995, head of the contract management department at the Treuhandanstalt and the subsequent Federal Agency for Unification-Related Special Tasks (BvS). In 2000 he took over the position of Natural Gas Purchasing Director at E.ON Ruhrgas in Essen. In 2013 he was admitted as an independent lawyer.

Michael R. Keller​

US Consul General, Consulate General Düsseldorf

Michael R. Keller has been US Consul General in Düsseldorf since August 2015, having previously headed the Economics Department at the US Embassy in Paris from 2012-2015. He joined the United States diplomatic service in 1992 and during his diplomatic career focused primarily on economic issues. He worked at the US State Department from 1997-1998 in the crisis center and from 1998-2000 as an officer in the policy department in the Japan desk. From 2002-2005 he worked as an Associate in the Economics Department at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and from 2005-2008 at the US Embassy in Santiago, Chile.

Michael Keller holds a BA with honors in International Relations and German, which he earned as Phi BetaKappa from the College of William and Mary at Williamsburg, Virginia.

dr Walter Maisel, President & CEO, KOSTAL North America, Inc., Chairman of the Board of Directors of GACC Midwest and Chairman & President of GACC Midwest's Michigan Chapter

dr Walter Maisel is President and CEO of KOSTAL North America, one of the leading automotive suppliers in the USA, specializing in the development and production of complex electronic and electromechanical components. Before joining KOSTAL North America, he was Executive Vice President of Magna International. During his 15 years at Siemens and Siemens VDO, he held various management positions. dr Maisel started his professional career at Praxis Electronics, a UK software company and engineering service provider specializing in safety-related software. 

dr Lutz Raettig

Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Morgan Stanley Bank AG

After studying business administration in Hamburg and earning a doctorate (Dr. re. pole. in 1969 dr. Lutz Raettig has held a variety of positions in the banking industry. In September 1995 he joined Morgan Stanley Bank AG in Frankfurt as Managing Director and was Chairman of the Board of Management of Morgan Stanley Bank AG and Country Head for Germany and Austria until February 2005. Since 2002 he has also been Vice Chairman Morgan Stanley Europe. dr Raettig was a director of Morgan Stanley International Ltd and was a member of the board of directors of Morgan Stanley Bank International Ltd London.

before dr Raettig came to Morgan Stanley after working for Commerzbank and Westdeutsche Landesbank (WestLB) at various locations in Germany, London and New York for 26 years.

Frank Sportolari

President, UPS Germany & Vice President, American Chamber of Commerce in Germany eV

Frank Sportolari has been the President of UPS Germany since 2011, where he is responsible for all operations, strategy and business development in UPS's largest non-US market with over 19,000 employees. He  has spent all 30 years of his career at UPS in Europe. In 1986 he started as a trainee in the Finance & Accounting department in Munich. He then held various positions with increasing responsibility in Finance & Accounting, including as Controller in Munich, Cologne and Neuss for UPS Germany. He has also worked in this area in Spain/Portugal, Italy and at the European Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. From 2004 to 2006 he was Vice President of Strategy UPS Europe, also in Brussels. Before joining UPS, Frank worked for the US Department of Defense in Germany for six years. He is currently Deputy Chairman of the German-American Chamber of Commerce.


Andrew Kluth

Editor-in-Chief, Handelsblatt Global

Andreas Kluth has been Editor-in-Chief of Handelsblatt Global, the English-speaking part of the Handelsblatt Group, since March. Before that he was a correspondent for The Economist for 20 years – in London, Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Berlin. A native of New York, he received his bachelor's degree from Williams College in Massachusetts and his master's degree from the London School of Economics. He is the author of Hannibal and Me.

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