The Economic Senator dismisses supervisory boards: The dispute over Ifa is growing – economy

The message on behalf of the sick senator was to be delivered by the secretary of economic state, Tino Schopf (SPD). On Tuesday afternoon, Schopf called Sonja Groneweg and Alexander Pett and suggested the resignation of the supervisory board of the state-owned Messe Berlin GmbH. They refused. As a result, the termination of both by Economic Senator Stephan Schwarz as shareholder proxy was sent by mail. The next board meeting on June 15th will therefore be held without Groneweg and Pett. Official reason for the maneuver: regrouping of the exhibition company after the pandemic.

On Whitsun Ecknig goes to London

In fact, the release is a criminal action: Pett and Groneweg are owned by the gfu camp, a consumer electronics company that owns the Ifa radio exhibition and that wants to host an Ifa with the Anglo-Saxon event group Clarion by 2024 at latest. And in Berlin. gfu / Clarion has been negotiating this with Messe Berlin for months, it got stuck and the conflict escalated with mutual accusations. Under what conditions the Ifa will be held in Berlin after 2023? After exhibition manager Martin Ecknig was unable to reach an agreement with gfu management on the matter, he flies to London on Whitsun to find a solution with Clarion boss Simon Kimble. It’s high time, because talking about Ify’s future is destroying almost 100-year-old world-famous trade fairs.

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Ifa is part of the gfu, which in turn commissioned the Messe Berlin event. The relevant contract expires next year, from 2024 gfu wants to organize Ifa together with Clarion and founded a company in which gfu has 30 percent and Clarion has 70 percent. Also involved on the Clarion side: Christian Göke, Managing Director of Messe Berlin until 2020.

Two new Ifa bosses

Ifa’s bosses, Jens Heithecker and Dirk Koslowski, also belong to the Clarion camp. They both received an offer from Clarion, both of whom informed Ecknig about it a few months ago. Heithecker resigned from the show on January 31, 2022, and was released without notice by Ecknig in late April because he had reportedly revealed a trade secret. Forensic experts from Deloitte, who are investigating the work of Göke and Heithecker on behalf of the fair, allegedly found a distinctive email from Heithecker to Göke.

Head of ITB at Ifa

Koslowski also came out this week, and Ecknig introduced the successors. “New dual management, David Ruetz and Kai Mangelberger, are replacing previous Ifa directors Jens Heithecker and Dirk Koslowski.” “As the world’s most important consumer and home electronics show, we’re ready to set the stage for an industry reboot,” said Ecknig. Ruetz and Mangelberger formed a management duo “which, together with the Ifa team, will be a good accompaniment to the countdown in the next few months.” That doesn’t sound like a post-2022 solution. It would not be possible with the head of ITB Ruetz. Mangelberger was recently the “deputy director” of the Innotrans rail fair.

gfu is considering leaving the deal

Meanwhile, the heads of the gfu around the chairman of the supervisory board, Volker Klodwig, are losing patience. It is said that since relations with Messe Berlin are severed, they are considering leaving the Ifa contract prematurely. Then the radio exhibition would be held for the last time in September, not in 2023.

The story goes back eight years

In any case, the dismissal of longtime gfu Pett’s managing director from the fair’s supervisory board doesn’t help to appease the gfu. Especially since it marks the end of the eight-year-old’s meeting. The then chairman of the supervisory board, Hans-Joachim Kamp – previously the head of Philips in Germany and a member of the gfu supervisory board – resigned from membership in the supervisory board in June 2014, provided that gfu retained a seat on the board. Ruling mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) agreed. The deal lasted until Tuesday night when Secretary of State Schopf called Pett. Incidentally, in the summer of 2014, Stephan Schwarz, president of the Berlin Department of Commerce, played a key role in resolving the conflict over Kampa, Göke and Economic Senator Cornelia Yzer (CDU).

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