BERLIN, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Germany's former foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), who was also the economy minister from 2013 to 2017, will join the supervisory board of the recently-merged European train manufacturing company Siemens-Alstom, the German newspaper "BILD" reported on Wednesday.
The responsible ethics committee did not perceive a conflict of interest in Gabriel's career change and recommended a limited cooling-down period of 12 months before Gabriel can complete his move to the private sector. The Siemens-Alstom board is only scheduled to convene for the first time in March 2019, just over a year since the former foreign minister's political retirement.
As a consequence, Gabriel appears to have cleared the single most significant regulatory obstacle to his appointment by Siemens-Alstom.
Commenting on the report on Wednesday, government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said that an official announcement on the personnel decision would soon be made.
Gabriel told the German press agency (dpa) that he had already agreed to take up the job six weeks ago given that Siemens-Alstom is not scheduled to be formally incorporated until the start of next year. The formal appointment can only take place when the Siemens and Alstom have both nominated a total of six board members for the merged railway manufacturer respectively.
"Of course, I have ensured that I am in full compliance with regulations for former members of the federal government which were established during the last legislative period," Gabriel told press earlier. Back in his role as minister for the economy in 2014, Gabriel was involved in failed discussions between Siemens and Alstom over a potential sale of the latter's power plant business.
Siemens and Alstom both announced the fusion of their train manufacturing units in the fall of 2017. The producers of the ICE and TGV highspeed trains want to grow by more than 4 percent per year together and achieve combined revenue of more than 20 billion euros as "Siemens Alstom" by 2023.
Aside from his role on Siemens-Alstom's supervisory board, the former foreign minister will offer advisory services to the non-governmental organization International Crisis Group and hold lectures at the Harvard University in the U.S. this fall.
Gabriel was Germany's most popular politician in opinion polls when his term expired but was not asked by the SPD leadership to re-join Chancellor Angela Merkel's fourth governing cabinet.