Expatica news

Ex-chancellor Schroeder to join media group

24 November 2005

BERLIN – Gerhard Schroeder, German chancellor for the past seven years until this week, is to join Switzerland’s leading newspaper group, Ringier, as a political consultant and lobbyist, working at its offices in Zurich one or two days a week.

The ex-chancellor, 61, who resigned his seat in the German Bundestag after handing over to successor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, would take up the post on January 1, the company said Thursday.

Two thirds of Ringier’s business is in central and eastern Europe, where it has acquired many major publications. The media group, which publishes both newspapers and magazines, has a workforce of 6,081.

Schroeder, a lawyer by training, earlier said he plans to open a practice in Berlin and write a book.

Proprietor Michael Ringier, 56, said on Germany’s N24 news television channel that Schroeder would “open doors” for the group.

“Schroeder is undoubtedly one of the great statesman of the present time,” he said. The publishing group had political activities. “We are very strong in eastern Europe. We are in China. We are in Vietnam. We are politically involved.

“So I am convinced that Gerhard Schroeder will be an excellent adviser to me and to the firm on the right path to take. And he will surely also open this or that door for us as well.”

One of Ringier’s main Swiss newspapers is the mass-circulation, left-of-centre Blick. It publishes a Swiss business magazine, Cash, and a German political magazine, Cicero, as well as more than 40 titles in Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Michael Ringier said “This appointment is based on a friendly relationship we have had for some years. It was always clear to us that we would do something together. And the time has now come.”

Schroeder’s title is will be “personal adviser to Michael Ringier on international politics issues”. Marco Castellaneta, spokesman for Ringier, told the dpa/Rufa radio news service that Schroeder would have an office in Zurich to use one or two days per week.

In Berlin, Schroeder’s office declined comment, saying the engagement was a matter private to Schroeder.

Ringier reported record earnings in 2004 of 55.6 million Swiss francs (42.4 million dollars), a gain of 29 per cent. Thanks to acquisitions, its sales rose 13 per cent to 1.1 billion Swiss francs.


Subject: German news