New head of BDI with green credentials

Tanja Gönner
The future Chief Executive of the BDI: Tanja Gönner. Photo: GIZ

Tanja Gönner will be the first woman to head the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The CDU politician and former state minister for Baden-Württemberg is to take over the vacant position at Germany’s most influential industry association starting this summer. Her predecessor Joachim Lang left the post on May 31.

It is to be expected that Gönner will lead the BDI into a greener future. “The transformation to climate neutrality, the challenges in the international context and acceptance in society” is what the 52-year-old sees as her main tasks in her new role. In her current job as spokeswoman for the board of the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ), Gönner has already advocated for a green reconstruction of the global economy after the COVID pandemic. She frequently stresses that economic policy must always be climate policy as well.

Gönner has headed the GIZ since 2012. In a press release, she stated that she had found her time at GIZ very enriching, but that she now wanted to pursue new career paths after ten years.

Born in 1969 in Sigmaringen, Tanja Gönner began her career after school with an apprenticeship as a legal officer. She then studied law at the Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen and, after passing her state exam and completing her legal clerkship, worked for a law firm.

Alongside her legal career, she early on also pursued a political one. In 1986, she joined the Junge Union (Young Union of Germany), and has been a member of the CDU since 1987, including serving on the national board from 2000 to 2012. Between 2002 and 2004, she was a member of the German Bundestag.

In 2004, she was appointed Minister of Social Affairs in Baden-Württemberg. From February 2010 to May 2011, Tanja Gönner served as Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Gönner’s appointment to the BDI leadership is to be made at the suggestion of BDI President Siegfried Russwurm at the meeting of the BDI Presidium and Executive Board on June 20.


    Niclas Kvarnström – new Asia director at EEAS
    Berîvan Aymaz – a critic of the European asylum reform
    Svyatlana Zikhanouskaya – fighting for democracy in Belarus
    Heike Raab – Rhineland-Palatinate’s ambassador