Board Members

President: Thomas Büttner

Mark C. Hilgard advises clients in business law; he is experienced in drafting and negotiating contracts (e.g., corporate and commercial, automotive, bank, construction, telecommunication, agency disputes, distribution law, as well as related to plant engineering and construction, M&A [mergers and acquisitions,]) and represents clients in disputes before arbitral institutions and ordinary courts (for example in M&A matters: purchase price adjustment disputes, violation of guarantees, etc.). In many arbitral matters he also sits as arbitrator (Chairman or Co-arbitrator).


Executive Vice President: C. Michael Oppenheim

Michael has over 40 years experience in sales, marketing and senior management in consumer durables (automotive, photo equipment, etc.) and consulting of multi-national companies in the USA, UK and Germany.


Programs: Thomas Leiser

Thomas Leiser, born in Madison, WI and raised in Houston, TX graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Executive Program of Columbia University.  He has held various positions in Sales and Marketing at Procter and Gamble, Kerr-McGee Corporation, and VEBA AG (now E.ON). Currently he serves as Geschäftsführer for SGA Chemie, a trading company in minerals, petrochemicals, and minerals. After commuting commuted between the USA and Germany since 1999, he relocated permanently to Hessen, Germany in 2008.  Mr. Leiser has been active in Republicans Overseas since 2010.  He is an officer in the National and Local American German Business Clubs, The Steuben-Schurz Gesellschaft, AmCham and Die Brücke.  Mr. Leiser since its founding volunteers for the AGBC sponsored Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow program.  He is happily married and has a son and a daughter.


Secretary: Ute Vogler

Ute’s studies include languages (English / French / Spanish) with focus on economics. She worked in the field of Economic Development and Trade Promotion for various U.S. states for 20 years (1979 – 1999).

Since 2000 she has been the owner of Mainoffice Business Center, the administrative office of AGBC Frankfurt & has acted as Secretary since 2003. Ute is a member of the EoT Team & has been since its beginning in 2008.


Past Presidents

Vera Thiers – Immediate Past President

Born and raised in Canton, Ohio, Vera moved to Germany in 1977 after studying history in Virginia.  Based in Frankfurt, working in the travel industry for eight years allowed her to pursue her lifelong love of travel as a vocation.  The next chapter of her life found her balancing the care of her two growing children with work as a freelance translator and interpreter. In the mid-90’s, Vera became the Regional Coordinator of Education First for the states of Hesse and the Rhineland Palatinate.

Education First is a non-profit international organization focused on educational travel and cultural exchange.  In the new millennium, she sought a new challenge and joined Going-There Global Destination Services as European Regional Coordinator.  For the past ten years, Vera has been working in the field of marketing and outreach for the Frankfurt International School in Oberursel, an institution she is proud to be a part of.  Vera has supported many organizations over the years as a volunteer, most notably as President of the American Women’s Club, now known as the American International Women’s Club.


David Knower
Past President (2000 – 2004; 2005 – May 2017):

David Knower is Partner and Head of Cerberus Deutschland Beteiligungsberatung GmbH since 2003. Prior to this, Mr. Knower was Owner and Managing Director of Invenimus, an International Consulting Firm headquartered near Frankfurt. He also held management positions at Procter & Gamble for 11 years. Mr. Knower received two undergraduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts, (Economics, German) in 1983. Mr. Knower spent the academic year 1981/82 studying in Freiburg, Germany. Mr. Knower received his MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), in 1985. In addition to serving on various supervisory and advisory boards in Germany, Mr. Knower is VP and Executive Board Member of AmCham Germany, outgoing President of AGBC Frankfurt, Global Board Member Republicans Overseas, Board Member Aspen Institute, Board Member American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, VP of the Steuben‐Schurz Gesellschaft, and Member of the Board of trustees of “The English Theatre”, in Frankfurt. In 2012, Mr. Knower received the City of Frankfurt’s “Medal of Honor”. Born in 1961, an American citizen and a resident of Germany, David is married and has three children.


Past Presidents: Philip Haleen, Dennis Phillips

Appointed Officers

Sponsorship: Jim Tiedeman
Jim is an active part of the wider AT&T EMEA Organization. He has over 15 years leadership experience in the telecommunications marketplace, both in the US and Europe. Active in the  American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University, German American Chamber of Commerce, Student Mentor & Speaker EoT and VP -German American Business Club.


Marketing & Public Relations: Claudia Boehnert

Claudia Böhnert is the owner and Managing Director of Courage Strategieberatung. Together with her team, she advises law firms and companies – nationally and internationally. She is one of the leading PR and marketing consultants in the professional service sector and is regularly quoted in the media. She has over 20 years of experience in international top 10 network agencies, most recently in executive positions. 

Website & IT: Jan Ruthard

Jan Ruthard is a self employed webdesigner born and raised in Germany.
He specializes in image-websites and is particularly versed in marketing & psychology. Working with mainly other self employed, startups and SMEs he gets deeply involved with the companies and often also acts as an web-advisor.

EOT Program Coordinator: Doreen Kroemer

Legal Counsel: Ralph Hummel

Deputy Executive Vice President: Willi Rugen

Ad Hoc Legal Affairs: Philip Haleen

Ad Hoc Sports: Bob Gerber

Ad Hoc Special Events: Susi James