Habeck’s future state secretary: The new one comes from the financial world

The largely unknown Philipp Nimmermann is to become the new State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs. He and Minister Habeck already know each other.

A bald man smiles at the camera

Should bring peace to Habeck’s ministry: State Secretary Philipp Nimmermann Photo: Frank Peter/imago

BERLIN taz | Just a few days after the dismissal of his important State Secretary Patrick Graichen, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck announced a successor on Monday: The financial expert Philipp Nimmermann from Hesse is to take over this post, which is considered a key position for the implementation of the traffic light’s climate policy projects. “He is an experienced head of administration, has been State Secretary for many years, knows the energy markets and is a good economist,” said the Green Minister in explaining his decision. The new one should start his work “very promptly”.

The successor had become necessary after Habeck put his previous State Secretary Graichen on temporary retirement. The reason was not clearly separated connections between professional and private life. For example, Graichen’s best man was to take over the top position at the state-owned German Energy Agency Dena – a decision that was reversed after the link was exposed.

The fact that Nimmermann is now taking over Graichen’s post caused a surprise in politics and business on Monday. The 57-year-old is not yet known to the general public, which is why his name was not mentioned in the successor debate. But that is precisely what must have been the plus point for the naughty man in the heated mood surrounding Habeck’s heat transition. After all, in the course of the so-called best man affair, the close ties between the ministry and the think tank Agora Energiewende were increasingly criticized.

Barely rooted in the energy scene

Accordingly, the minister is likely to have been looking explicitly for a person who has not yet been noticed as a string puller in the energy industry. It is likely that some of the recently discussed candidates, such as the head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, have long been considered sensitive because of their proximity to the Agora network.

The new state secretary is not suspicious in this respect, he comes from a completely different corner, namely the financial world. He did his doctorate on double taxation agreements and rose to become chief economist at BHF-Bank. Unlike his predecessor, he is therefore hardly rooted in the energy scene.

From October 2014 to January 2019, Nimmermann was State Secretary in the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Finance. Habeck knows him from that time because he was the deputy prime minister in the north at the time. Most recently, Nimmermann was State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics and Energy of Hesse under the Green Tarek al-Wazir.

The newcomer is considered a relaxed pragmatist. After the announcement of the personnel details, Habeck said that the financial expert had “proven several times that he can structure highly complex tasks in a stringent manner”. At the same time, he can quickly familiarize himself with topics using his economic acumen. However, his first task in the new office should be one thing above all: to bring calm back to the ministry.

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