Trouble over Siemens Energy post: Grimm’s economic approach defies all criticism in “stormy times”.

Zoff about the Siemens Energy post
Economics Grimm defies all criticism in “stormy times”.

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Is a dual role as an expert for the federal government and a supervisory board member of Siemens Energy a conflict of interest? The economist Veronika Grimm says no. It is even an advantage. In the interview, she calmly lets her colleagues’ loud demands for her resignation roll off her shoulders. She wants to take up her new position on Monday – regardless of the criticism.

Ms. Grimm, the discussion about your possible dual role as an economist and supervisory board member at Siemens Energy is being heated. Are you still sticking to your decision to fulfill both roles?

Veronika Grimm: Yes. I have had it checked whether the supervisory board mandate is compatible with my role on the Advisory Council. There was also a compliance audit at Siemens Energy. Both came to the same conclusion. And that is that there is nothing to complain about. There are several precedents in which members of the Advisory Council held supervisory board mandates. The Advisory Council has always dealt with this in a very cooperative, collegial and conscientious manner.

In fact, your case is different from the three precedents. You are an energy economist and would therefore be the first to have a mandate in your own research area. Can you understand the criticism?

As an independent scientist, I am a member of the Advisory Council and will carry out my mandate based on my scientific expertise and, above all, on the basis of comprehensible arguments. By the way, there are a wide variety of functions – including in business – in which scientists are active in Germany, including those close to their field of expertise. That’s a good thing because it means you get out of the glass box and your assessment of facts becomes sharper. Transparency is important here. Can it give the impression that I am speaking out for Siemens Energy? No. There is no provision for ordinary members of the supervisory board to comment on behalf of the company.

Can you still answer energy policy questions without judgment that will inevitably come to the Advisory Council – or do you have to drop out of these questions?

Based on my scientific expertise and my work on energy systems and markets, I can of course contribute to the debate. Of course, in this dual role I would not take a public position on matters that directly affect the company. However, the Advisory Council is not involved in these decisions.

So you didn’t make the discussion public?

Why should I have an interest in it? Last year I offered my colleagues an opportunity to discuss how to deal with the situation. We have to clarify how to deal with the question internally – in accordance with the framework conditions that apply to our work.

What should happen next – can you imagine further collaboration in the current constellation?

Yes, of course. The members of the Advisory Council are each appointed for five years. And Achim Truger, who was nominated by the unions, for a second term of office until 2029, for which I warmly congratulate him. The legal mandate is clear: to inform politicians and the public on economic policy issues. There is a good reason why politicians do not intend to dismiss members of the Council of Experts during their term of office: so that this body can advise independently and is not under pressure to express only a specific, desired opinion. Even though times are currently becoming stormier, I will continue to carry out my mandate conscientiously.

So you continue – even if your colleagues suggested that you resign?

Jannik Tillar spoke to Veronika Grimm

The interview first appeared on

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