State Secretary & Ambassador Juergen Chrobog (ret.)
Expertise: International Diplomacy, Risk Assessment, Emerging Markets, Security, European Union, EU-US Bilateral Relationships, United Nations
Mr. Chrobog served as Chairman of the Board of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, a non-profit organization focused on connecting business leaders from around the world until July 2013. As part of the Foundation’s global agenda, Mr. Chrobog promoted issues on Responsible Leadership, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
From 2001 to 2005 Mr. Chrobog served as State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office. As the highest-ranking civil servant he represented the Foreign Minister at the helm of the Foreign Service. He was directly responsible for Asia, Africa, the Near and Middle East and Latin America and dealt with Foreign Trade and Economic matters comprising Export Control and Export Guaranties for the German Government. He was responsible for all issues related to the United Nations, Cultural Affairs, Education and Communications.
Mr. Chrobog oversaw all ongoing conflicts worldwide as well as the safety of German nationals living or stationed abroad. As State Secretary, Mr. Chrobog ran the German Risk Assessment Center which issues worldwide travel warnings. He was in charge of the Crisis Management Center and became internationally known as a negotiator for the release of hostages in Algeria, Mali and other countries.
From 1995 to 2001 Mr. Chrobog served as Germany’s Ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC. During this period he represented the German Government on political, trade and cultural issues, assisted German companies operating in the United States on legal and investment matters, and spoke on all political issues dealing with the German-American bilateral relationship. While in Washington, DC, Mr. Chrobog developed a strong personal network with key US policymakers, business leaders and members of the cultural community.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, Mr. Chrobog held top positions in the German Foreign Office such as Political Director General, Spokesman and Chief of Staff of the German Foreign Minister. He started his diplomatic career as member of the German Delegation at the UN in New York and later as Deputy Ambassador and Economic Counselor in Singapore. Because of his international experience Mr. Chrobog is specialized in risk assessment and management in developing countries and emerging markets.
Mr. Chrobog studied law in Freiburg, Aix-en-Provence, and Goettingen and worked as an attorney at a Hanover law firm before entering the Foreign Service in 1972. He speaks German, English, and French.
Dr. Wolfgang Baare-Schmidt, LL.M.
Expertise: Law & Transatlantic Relations
Dr. Wolfgang Baare-Schmidt has over thirty years of experience as an attorney. Since its formation in 1995, he has been Senior Counsel in the law firm of WEITNAUER Attorneys, CPAs & Tax Advisors in Munich, Germany. He is deeply involved in transatlantic economic, political and security issues. From 1987-2008, Dr. Baare-Schmidt worked as Senior Advisor and Managing Partner in US / German Real Estate companies investing in commercial real estate primarily in Atlanta, Boston, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Florida, Texas and Colorado.
In 1964 Dr. Baare-Schmidt carried the German Flag at the Tokyo Olympic Games International Olympic World Youth Camp. Dr. Baare-Schmidt commenced his career for the first eight years as a career officer (Z8) in the German Army (1966 – 1974) as an active duty paratrooper, fixed wing (PPL) and helicopter pilot (MHPL). In 1968 he was an exchange officer at the US Military Academy West Point, and left the Bundeswehr in 1974 as Captain and Alouette II Squadron Commander. From 1974 to 1997 he was an active reserve officer helicopter pilot (with private fixed wing licence PPL) , before retiring in 1997 as Lieutenant Colonel and deputy commander of an antitank helicopter regiment.
Dr. Baare-Schmidt studied law from 1974 to 1977 at the Universities of Kiel, Lausanne, Geneva, London (LSE), and Hamburg (1st State Exam 1977). As a Fulbright Scholar in 1977/1978 he earned his LL. M. from Tulane Law School, New Orleans. He was admitted to the Hamburg bar in 1982, received his Dr./PhD in law in 1983 from the University of Tuebingen, Germany and worked for various law firms in Hamburg, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and Atlanta; from 1985 to 1987 he served on the Management Board of the Coca-Cola GmbH in Essen, Germany, and was admitted to the Munich bar in 1987. He is fluent in German, English and French.
Mr. Hendrik Borggreve
Expertise: Banking & Finance
Mr. Borggreve has over 30 years of experience in Banking and Finance. He is currently Senior Advisor and Member of the Supervisory Board of the Royal Bank of Scotland AG, in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. In his prior capacity he was Member of the Supervisory Board, Delbrueck Bethmann Maffei and Member of the Board of ABN AMRO Bank. He also served as CEO and Senior Advisor to Salomon Smith Barney Group, Salomon Brother AG as well as CEO at Kleinwort Benson GmbH in Frankfurt/Main. Mr. Borggreve was the Executive Director of Lehman Brothers Bankhaus AG, Frankfurt. In addition, he held high ranking positions at Banque Paribas, Commerzbank and Bayer AG.
Mr. Boggreve holds a law degree in Munich and Hamburg.
Ms. Alyazia Khalifa Al Marri
Expertise: Finance, Merger & Acquisitions, GCC Legal System, Investments, Joint Ventures, Market Entry
Ms. Al Marry is a national of the UAE and has over 14 years of experience in senior management positions including those of Audit and Finance Director in the UAE Government. She is an expert in setting up M&As and JV structures, formulating and implementing policy guidelines and processes across numerous GCC sectors and industries.
Besides her role as Global Advisor at the Foxhall Group, where she advises the firm’s clients on GCC related issues, Ms. Al Marri served as former Finance Director and Internal Audit Director at the Office of His Highness, the Crown Prince of Dubai. She is also the owner of a Dubai based audit firm and a finance expert registered at UAE courts and arbitration centers.
Mr. Hartmut Grossmann
Expertise: Finance & Regulatory Issues
Mr. Grossmann is a financial services executive with over 30 years of experience in the United States focusing primarily on regulatory and compliance matters in the banking/securities and investment management segments.
He advises leading U.S. domestic and international clients on establishing compliant and effective business structures, policies, procedures and processes. Mr. Grossmann has extensive experience in dealing with the complex regulatory system in the United States (including establishing businesses and obtaining approvals).
Mr. Grossmann has served for 20 years as Chief Operating Officer of Dresdner Bank’s North American operations, as Managing Director of an ultra-high net worth investment manager, as Senior Compliance official of a global diversified insurance/financial services group and at the World Bank. He also served as a monitor for the Bundeskartellamt and the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Grossmann now heads his own consultancy firm in New York City.
Mr. Grossmann is a lawyer by training with degrees from the University of Hamburg, Germany and the University of California at Berkeley. He is admitted to the bar of the State of New York and Washington, D.C.
Craig R. Helsing
Mr. Helsing is an expert in the Automotive Sector with over 20 years of experience in the ondustry. Most recently he served as Vice President, BMW (US) Holding Corp. In this position, he was responsible for the political, economic and diplomatic representation for all BMW activities in the United States involving BMW Group brands (BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motors Cars), BMW and Husqvarna Motorcycles, BMW Manufacturing Corp., BMW Bank of North America, BMW Financial Services, DesignWorks and BMW of North America. Mr. Helsing’s past responsibilities with BMW have also included serving as Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communications, BMW of North America and also as Vice President for Customer Relations, also with BMW of North America. He retired from BMW in the spring of 2013 after more than 21 years with the corporation.
Immediately prior to joining BMW in 1992, Mr. Helsing was nominated by President George H.W. Bush, confirmed by the U.S. Senate and served as an Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Inter-Governmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He also served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Robert A. Mosbacher.
Mr. Helsing's other government services have included staff positions in The White House and the Office of Management and Budget.
Mr. Helsing holds a JD degree from George Mason University School of Law and a BS degree in Economics and Finance from Millikin University.
Mr. Ruediger Lentz
Expertise: Media & Transatlantic Relations
Mr. Lentz has over 20 years of experience in Media and Transatlantic Relations. He is currently the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, Germany. Prior, Mr. Lentz was the Founder and Executive Director of the German-American Heritage Museum and Foundation in Washington, DC. From 1998 until 2009 he acted as the Washington Bureau Chief and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for Deutsche Welle TV and Radio, following his assignment as Deutsche Welle’s Brussels Bureau Chief. Mr. Lentz is an expert in TV and Media and served as the Executive Director of German TV. In this capacity he was responsible for the branding and market entrance plan of German TV in the US.
Before joining Deutsche Welle, Mr. Lentz worked as a correspondent for the German news magazine Der Spiegel and as a TV commentator and reporter at ARD/WDR, Germany’s largest public TV and radio station. He also held various positions including that of Editor in Chief at RIAS-TV Berlin.
Mr. Lentz served in the German Armed Forces for eight years and is a specialist in Strategy and Defense policies. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a regular guest on CNN and C-Span.
He is a long time member of the Atlantik-Bruecke and a founding member of the German-American Business Council (GABC) in Washington, DC.
Mr. Lentz studied international relations, history and economics at the University of Hamburg.
Ambassador John B. Richardson (ret.)
Expertise: European Union & Maritime Policy
Mr. Richardson is an expert on the European Union. From 1973 to 1996 he occupied various posts at the European Commission, including EU negotiator for trade in services during the Uruguay Round, and Unit Head, first for relations with the US, then for relations with Japan. In 1996 Mr. Richardson became Deputy Head of the Commission’s Delegation to the United States in Washington, DC and in 2001 Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in New York. On returning to Brussels, Mr. Richardson headed the Task Force, which developed the Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU, which the European Council adopted in December 2007.
Mr. Richardson is a Senior Adviser with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a Member of the Board of Trustees of Sail Training International, and the Chairman of the Award Committee of the European Sea Ports Organization. He has Masters Degrees in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge and Economics from University College London. He spent four years as an economist with Unilever, before joining the European Commission to work on environmental policy in 1973. His maritime interests now include shipping, shipbuilding, environmental technology, offshore oil and gas and renewable energy, satellite surveillance, and the Arctic. Mr. Richardson is fluent in German, English and French.
Mr. Hermann Sturm
Expertise: SME / Economic & Trade Issues
Mr. Sturm is the President of the Union of Middle-Sized Enterprises in Germany (UNION MITTELSTÄNDISCHER UNTERNEHMEN e.V.), the Association of Family Owned Companies (Wir Eigentümerunternehmer) and Central Association of German Engineers (ZENTRALVERBAND DEUTSCHER INGENIEURE e.V.).
In his capacity as the President of the Union of Middle-Sized Enterprises, Mr. Sturm is an instrumental link between German SMEs and the government. As President of the organization Mr. Sturm has gained international recognition awarding worldwide renowned political and economic leaders with the Global and European Elite Award.
Mr. Sturm is the CEO of Pentagon GmbH and various Real Estate / Asset Management / Consultancy companies. With a vast background in Engineering and Real Estate he is a well renowned advisor in the planning, construction and management of Hotels / Commercial and Residential properties as well as Facilities Management companies.
Mr. Wolfgang-Joachim Waeber
Expertise: Transportation & Aviation Industry
Mr. Waeber is an expert in the Transportation Industry with over 40 years of experience in Civil Aviation. He is currently the Senior Advisor to Citigate Dewe Rogerson Moscow and Infomost Consulting, in Moscow as well as Advisor to the CEO of UTair Group. Mr. Waeber is a specialist on topics regarding Business Strategy, Government Affairs and Public Policy with EU institutions and the Russian Federation, Human Resources Management, Network Management including Alliance Building, and MRO Strategic Development.
As a former advisor to the Executive Board of the Lufthansa Group he has also held numerous other high-ranking positions within the company including Managing Director of European & Government Affairs in Brussels, and Vice President of Corporate Government & International Relations in Washington, DC. Mr. Waeber worked for Lufthansa AG in several countries including the USA, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Ghana and France.
Mr. Waeber holds a degree in civil aviation management and is a member of various international Boards. He is the recipient of the Federal Republic of Germany Friendship Award. Mr. Waeber is fluent in German, English and French.
Mr. Karim Yusef Gohar, MA
Expertise: Policy, Government Affairs & Social Development / Non-Profit
Mr. Gohar has 35 years of experience in Policy, Government Affairs and the Social Development and the NGO sector. As part of his work, he has operated community development and poverty reduction programs in the Middle East and North Africa region. Mr. Gohar has managed and overseen a wide spectrum of complex internationally spanning advisory, policy, consultative, monitoring, and evaluative services. Over his long career, he has developed skills in formulating NGO development strategies at national and local levels and designed NGO grant programs in accordance with EU and US contractual and financial standards. He is a specialist in designing, monitoring, and assessing development projects in the areas of community development, basic education, NGO capacity building, and health care.
As part of an international team tasked with establishing Lebanon’s Economic and Social Fund for Development, Mr. Gohar was appointed Senior Consultant for Community Development. Further, he was the Founding Director of the USD 80 million Egyptian Swiss Development Fund (ESDF). In this capacity, he facilitated negotiations between the Egyptian and Swiss governments and led the launch of this major poverty alleviation effort implemented through NGOs in Egypt. He subsequently carried out the full range of management responsibilities to operationalize this Fund. Prior to this, Mr. Gohar served as USAID Egypt's Private Voluntary Organizations & Food for Peace Officer, managing and monitoring USAID’s sizeable portfolio of grants to international and grass root NGOs for 10 years.
Mr. Gohar’s experience and insights in establishing and operating NGO social development programs are enhanced by numerous other assignments in the Middle East with UNDP, EU, USAID, SDA, GIZ, CARE, CARITAS, and other international organisations in the areas of needs and capacity assessment, assistance to NGOs in project design and operation, and formative evaluations. He maintains an extensive network in the MENA region and has deep insights into the Egyptian political workings.
Mr. Gohar holds a Master’s degree in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and is fluent in English and Arabic.
Mr. Karim Chrobog
Expertise: FDI, JVs, M&As;, Market Access Africa and Middle East, Media, Communications
Mr. Chrobog oversees the firm’s GCC, Middle East, and Africa practice based out of Dubai and Washington, DC. He has provided in depth advice on strategic and global expansion matters to companies in the hospitality, F&B, medical, automotive and technology sectors. With a decade-long media background, Mr. Chrobog also advises on strategic and crisis communications and media related issues.
Mr. Chrobog holds a degree in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a Corporate Masters from ESADE (Spain), a Masters in International Business from FGV (Brazil), and a Masters in International Business from Georgetown University. He speaks German, Arabic and English.