Christmas Letter 2019

Dear members and future members,
2019 was a good year for our Club and brought some major changes.

We placed a strong emphasis on events this year.

In particular, we implemented a new structure and a visible strategy and concept behind our events. We started by creating 5 five -categories of events, namely:

„What if …. calls” (featuring discussions with the Finanzamt, IRS, headhunters, the immigration office and others
„Champions and Hidden Champions“ (featuring discussions with CEOs and other forms of leaders)
„Think Tanks“ (featuring discussions with economists and academics)
What is your message, Mr./Mrs ….. (featuring discussions with politicians, diplomats and other dignitaries)
„Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow” (a business plan competition for young people

You may have noticed that we have grown very active in offering attractive events to our members. I do not want to list all of them here – if interested, please have a look at our website and you will find the results of our revitalized events program. I just want to highlight the following:

December 5, 2019
Annual Membership Meeting
Villa Bonn

December 5, 2019
Dr. Christian Jasperneite, CIO, M.M. Warburg
THINK TANKS: World economic outlook for 2020
Villa Bonn

November 26, 2019
Thanksgiving Dinner in cooperation with Steuben-Schurz-Gesellschaft e.V.

November 20, 2019
Luncheon with Dr. Christoph von Marschall and Claus Gramckow in cooperation with Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung

November 4, 2019
We had planned a Luncheon with Stanley Ruchelman and Galia Antebi
„WHAT IF you have to deal with U.S. taxes? “
The event unfortunately had to be cancelled
Villa Bonn

November 1, 2019
“Year End Tournament” at Golf Course Rheinblick Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden-Dotzheim – had to be cancelled due to bad wheather

October 24, 2019
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE, Prof. Dr. Alexander Lorz, Hessischer Kultusminister
„Germany and the U.S. – Common values / common interests? Despite disputes over trade and Nato, the US and Germany need to find a way back to cooperation “
ECOS Office Center Frankfurt

October 15, 2019
In cooperation with ACG Germany e.V. and Airport Club Frankfurt I gave a presentation
“After the Election is Before the Election: The Era of Trump”
Airport Club Frankfurt

September 23, 2019
Gabriel Glöckler, Directorate General Communications, European Central Bank and Todd Bull
Morgan Lewis, OpernTurm

September 11, 2019
James D. Bindenagel, Former Ambassador from the United States
„WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE, Mr Ambassador? Transatlantic Relations in Uncertain Times: Can Germany Lead in Europe without Dominating? “

September 10, 2019
AGBC Frankfurt & Steuben-Schurz-Gesellschaft – Day Trip to the US Army Garrison (Clay Kaserne) Wiesbaden
Clay Kaserne

August 21, 2019
„WHAT IF someone asks about Europe´s Financial Landscape Post-Brexit and Frankfurt´s role in it? “
Hubertus Väth, Managing Director, Frankfurt Main Finance e.V.
Intercontinental hotel

August 21, 2019
„WHAT IF Trapped in Success: German Foreign Policy”
Ambassador (a.D.) Dr. Volker Stanzel in conversation with Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, FAZ
Evening event, Protestant Academy of Frankfurt

August 9, 2019
End of Season Golf Tournament

July 11, 2019
“WHAT IF the Hacker Calls? “
Vincent Defrenne, head of the Cyber Consulting practice of NVISO,
Café Hauptwache,

June 27, 2019
Consulate General Citizens Services to meet with AGBC
Café Hauptwache; An der Hauptwache 15, Frankfurt am Main

June 26, 2019
“WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE, Mr. Consul General: How does Switzerland Protect Power Mandates and Safeguard Foreign Interests in a Changing World? “
Dr. Urs Hammer, Consul GeneraI of Switzerland,
Intercontinental Hotel

May 18, 2019
Spargelfest Invitation
Schloss Johannisberg

April 2, 2019
Headhunter Friedrich-Wilhelm Graf von Pfeil,
“WHAT IF…Dealing with Headhunters”
Café Hauptwache

Last but now least, we had a 2019 New Year’s reception in cooperation with SSG.

We are planning more exciting events focused on German-American topics for 2020.As usual, these events will be listed on our website Here are a few examples of what we have in store:

February or March, 2020
Ulrike Koehler, VP/General Manager Nike Berlin & Central, EMEA
In our series “Champions and Hidden Champions”

March 25, 2020
Gordon Riske
Champions and Hidden Champions: „Succeeding as a global business in a world of populism and discontinuity “

May 8, 2020
Mark von Pentz
President, Agriculture & Turf Division, Europe, CIS, Africa, Asia
Deere & Company European Office
Champions and Hidden Champions „A2A, from Automation to Autonomy: the journey to a sustainable agriculture feeding the world“

September 11, 2020.
Detlef Braun, Geschäftsführer Messe Frankfurt GmbH
Champions and Hidden Champions
This event will be combined with a visit of participants to the Automechanika 2020.

We believe we have created a great program, aimed at the future generation – for both better American-German relations and also for AGBC Frankfurt itself. Your support, now and in the future, is welcome!

In addition to events, there were some important developments.

In particular, we recently withdrew our membership from the Association of American-German Business Clubs (the „Dachorganisation“), which saves us at least € 4,000 per year without losing any benefits (as there were none). It seems that our withdrawal has since caused the Dachorganisation to dissolve. We will not miss it, and we are prepared to cooperate with other American-German Clubs in a forward‑looking, active and cooperative manner for which we will not have to pay.

Just let me say that other AGBC clubs have already announced that they will cooperate with us on a much closer than before. In general, we need a closer cooperation of AGBC Frankfurt with other organizations, and we have started to work on this.

We also chose to restructure our organization.

On December 5th 2019, you (our members) elected a new Executive Board (President: me; Executive Vice President: Maja Vuksic; Treasurer: Ralph C. Freund and Secretary: Thomas W. Leiser)
We also created the following groups which will start (or continue) their work early next year:

Advisory Board
Events Team
New Members Initiative
Young Professionals
Articles of Incorporation
Membership Administration
Special Projects

We are currently in the process of allocating clear – and new – responsibilities for these groups. We will announce the names of members who will be in charge soon. If you are interested in assisting us in a particular area, please let me know.
As you know, AGBC has decided to develop EoT into a “lead event” in Frankfurt, an example of how active the American German business community can be.
This also means
• More awareness in the public;
• More presence in social media;
• winning the Frankfurt business community, winning private equity firms, winning banks, winning the Wirtschaftsförderungen of many towns, winning politicians and just the whole business community and convincing them to join our activities and to promote the event – which would in turn promote our organization. We need to attract young people to become members. Through EoT, we are in steady contact with young people. We therefore need to ensure that we use EoT to change our reputation as being an “old boys’ network” and successfully recruit these young people as members of our Club.

We created an Advisory Board to make use of the wealth of knowledge and experience that members in our Club have and want to contribute.

I am also pleased to let you know that, in honor of their commendable services over a long period of time, Mike Oppenheim and Ute Vogler were awarded during our Annual Membership Meeting. Both of them are now Honorary Members of our Club. Congratulations to both Mike and Ute for a well‑deserved honor!

Looking to the future: We count on our members to contribute to our Club life. Please let me know where you can assist us in 2020. Our Club is obviously a good organization which works best when all of us take an active role in supporting it. I hope to hear from you with ideas and requests for future speakers and events

And all pending members: If you want to take part and become an active club member, please apply for membership NOW!

In other words, and as a summary:

In 2020, we will work on becoming more effective, more attractive, and making our organization “the” center of American-German business issues – as well as of American-German networking: An organization that truly unites individuals in business through hosting numerous networking events every year.

I believe that the Club has started to move in the right direction, and in order to continue that trend, the Club needs your continued support.

It has been a honor for me to serve as your president in 2019, and I look forward to seeing you, your spouses, friends and potential new members at future AGBC Frankfurt events in the upcoming year.

Now I wish you, also on behalf of the entire Executive Board,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincerely yours,




Dr. Mark C. Hilgard