Strategic Minds Company

global.inspiring.sustainable.

Strategic positioning – with passion and sound judgement.

Berlin, 30 April 2024

Strategic Minds Company sells 100% of its shares to Berlin Global Advisors

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ABOUT US

We advise companies, associations, foundations and governments in Germany and abroad on their strategic positioning. Our consultancy combines decades of experience in top positions in business, academia and politics with the innovative strength and technological competence of a young international team.

From the start, our team takes the European and global perspective on behalf of our clients. Our many years of experience abroad enable us to understand and interact with different cultures and markets. We accompany German companies entering new markets. And we support foreign clients in their activities in Germany and with the EU. Our clients’ positioning in Brussels is a growing part of our work. Thanks to our partners’ many years of experience, we are able to analyse geopolitical risks – and opportunities – in a complex world and to derive appropriate strategies from them. We are closely connected with partner firms in all important markets.

The focus of our work is strategic positioning and the adept representation of interests in Berlin. We are very familiar with the inner workings of the Federal Chancellery, ministries, Bundestag and Bundesrat from decades of experience and having worked there ourselves.  We know how “politics” thinks and acts as well as how and when to speak to whom in order to effectively communicate the views of the business community to public institutions. The fair, fact-oriented and transparent dialogue between politics, business and science is of crucial importance for the cohesion and success of our society and democracy. The positioning of our clients in Brussels also represents a growing part of our work.

Energy and climate as well as digitalisation are decisive drivers for the economy. Companies, governments and societies will have to change. These changes can only be managed with new, innovative, intelligent technologies and the right framework conditions. We are aware of these upcoming challenges and support our clients in this transformation.

In addition to the existing topics of energy and digitalisation, our portfolio is being expanded to include climate protection, transformation (of the economy), commodities, real estate and new space. Lang’s specialisation in foreign trade will also further strengthen the company’s existing international orientation.

Our strategic consultancy was founded in 2009 by Dr Friedbert Pflüger as Pflüger International GmbH and has grown steadily since then. In 2020, Dr Holger Bingmann, then President of the German Wholesale and Foreign Trade Association, joined the company as majority shareholder. He brought new customers for Bingmann Pflüger International, especially from the Arab region. In 2022, Dr Joachim Lang, the former Managing Director of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), joined the company. He acquired the majority of the shares and is the sole managing partner of our consultancy, which is now called Strategic Minds Company, since June 1, 2022. Friedbert and Sibylle Pflüger remain in the company as Founding Partner and COO, respectively. Dr Holger Bingmann has taken a majority stake in a new company, Thinking Arabian, which focuses on the MENA region, and represents it as sole Managing Director.

OUR TEAM

Martin Wiesmann

CEO

Martin Wiesmann is Managing Partner at Berlin Global Advisors. He has 30 years of experience in the financial industry, having managed more than 100 M&A, equity and debt financing transactions. After 12 years in Deutsche Banks’ Investment Banking Division, in 2007 he joined J.P. Morgan as a Managing Director of its German Banking business. Martin was appointed Senior Country Officer for J.P. Morgan in Germany in 2014 and Vice Chairman Investment Banking Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2016, serving predominantly industrial clients, financial institutions and public sector clients in Germany and the European Union.
In 2020, Martin joined the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin as Senior Associate Fellow with a particular emphasis on Geo-economics and the European Monetary Union. In 2021 he co-founded the liberal Think Tank Denkfabrik R21, assuming roles as Program Director and Chairman of the advisory board. Martin is a member of the Supervisory Board of LEG Immobilien SE, Düsseldorf, and member of Atlantik-Brücke e.V. as well as the Baden-Badener Unternehmer Gespräche e.V.. Martin pursues his cultural interests as member of the Boards of Trustees of Literaturhaus Frankfurt, Städel Museum and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, and the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung in Darmstadt.

Martin Wiesmann holds a Certificate of Political Studies, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris („Sciences Po“), a Master of Arts in Political Science, Contemporary History and Constitutional Law of Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, and a Master of Business Administration of Joseph Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.

Ralf Welt

CEO

Ralf Welt is a Managing Partner at BGA and the Founder of BGA’s government affairs partner firm Dicomm Advisors, a political consultancy. Ralf looks back at more than 25 years of experience in advising listed companies as well as political institutions, government bodies and a number of ministers on European, federal and state level. Before creating his own firm, he was Director of External Relations and member of the management committee of the Procter & Gamble Group in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Ralf has extensive expertise in public diplomacy, corporate lobbying, and crisis communication. He worked as a political advisor in the German Chancellery and Bundestag from 1987 to 1989, and served as personal aide to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Dr. Otto Count Lambsdorff during the German reunification. He also served as Chairman of the Government Relations Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e.V. (Amcham) for nearly 10 years.

Ralf Welt holds a Masters degree in Political Science, Constitutional and International Law and Economic and Social History from the Universities Mainz and Bonn and is a member of the German Association of Political Consultants (de’ge’pol), the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), and the Society of Friends of DIW Berlin, one of the leading economic research institutes in Germany.

Sibylle Pflüger

Partner

Sibylle Pflüger joined Strategic Minds Company in 2011. After studying in Dresden and Hanover, she obtained a Master of Communication and Advertising in Magdeburg. Afterwards, she first worked as an advisor and office manager in the German Bundestag from 2000 to 2003, then as an advisor to the management of the German Foundation for World Population (DSW).

From 2005 to 2011, Sibylle Pflüger was an officer at EnBW AG, first in the area of protocol and board events, then for CSR, sustainability and corporate positioning.

Sibylle Pflüger was born in Hanover in 1977 and now lives in Berlin with her husband Friedbert and their two children.

Dr. Friedbert Pflüger

Partner

Dr Friedbert Pflüger, former Deputy Minister (State Secretary) in the Ministry of Defence, was born in Hanover on March 6, 1955. For over two decades, he has held leadership positions in politics, administration, business and academia.

Friedbert Pflüger is founder of Strategic Minds Company in Berlin and Chairman of the Internet Economy Foundation (IE.F). He is also co-partner of other firms such as Kurdish German European Business Alliances (KGE) based in Erbil (North Iraq); Kimya LLC based in Tehran, Isfahan and Kish Islands; GLB German Latin Business GmbH, based in Berlin and Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and iconomy GmbH, based in Berlin. Additionally, Friedbert Pflüger is senior advisor to Roland Berger.

From 2009 to 2020, Friedbert Pflüger served as Visiting Professor for international relations at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, where he directed the renowned European Cluster for Climate, Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS), which was transferred to the University of Bonn in 2020, where Pflüger teaches since then. He is also senior fellow of the Atlantic Council of the U.S., senior advisor to the World Energy Council’s Global Gas Centre, head of the Commodities Workgroup of Atlantikbrücke, member of the Steering Committee of the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ghorfa) and member of the advisory board of the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne. Friedbert Pflüger is author and editor of numerous books and publishes on topics of energy and digital policy, among others in Handelsblatt, die ZEIT, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Internationale Politik, Energy Post.

Together with Ambassador (ret.) Janusz Reiter he chairs the monthly Energy Dialogues at the Reichstag since 2009, hosting leading figures from politics and the energy sector.

Friedbert Pflüger studied Political Science, Economics and Constitutional Law in Göttingen, Bonn and Harvard, where he also taught at the Center for International Affairs under the supervision of Samuel Huntington. In 1982, he received his PhD under the supervision of Karl Dietrich Bracher in Bonn with a thesis on American foreign policy (summa cum laude). In 1989, for three months he was visiting fellow at Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In addition to his studies, he was National Chairman of CDU and CSU‘s student organization and member of the board of the Junge Union, the youth organization of the Christian Democratic Party.

After his studies, between 1981 and 1989, Friedbert Pflüger worked for the Governing Mayor of Berlin and later the German President, Richard von Weizsäcker. Here, he became one of the closest confidants of the President: first as speechwriter, later as chief of staff and press secretary. In 1990, Friedbert Pflüger was elected to the first unified German Parliament, where he served until 2006, among others, as chair of the Committee for EU Affairs, Foreign Policy Spokesperson of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group and Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence during the first Merkel Government. For ten years each, he was deputy chair of the CDU of Lower Saxony and Member of the Federal Board and the Executive Committee of the CDU respectively.

Friedbert Pflüger is Chairman of the Board of Zukunft Gas („Future Gas“), an association of 140 companies dealing with gas and hydrogen along the value chain. He holds various awards and decorations, e.g. for his contribution to the Eastern enlargement of the EU and NATO with the Polish, Bulgarian and Lithuanian Orders of Merit. Pflüger is also Commander of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic as well as of the Royal Victorian Order of the United Kingdom.

Friedbert Pflüger lives in Berlin together with his wife, Sibylle Pflüger, and his two children.

Dr. Gerhard Hinterhäuser

Senior Advisor

Gerhard Hinterhäuser is Senior Advisor at Strategic Minds Company, covering Asia and the financial markets. Prior to joining, he was CEO of Meag Hong Kong, the asset management company of the Munich Re Group in Asia Pacific, from 2006 to 2018.

Simultaneously he was Vice President of PICC Asset Management, a large Chinese state-owned company in Shanghai. Gerhard has spent most of his career in Asia, working out of Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

He holds a PhD in business from the Cologne University in Germany.

He studied in China from 1976 to 1977 and did postgraduate research at the Tokyo University with a scholarship of the Japan Foundation from 1983 to 1984.

He is a German national fluent in French, English, Italian, Japanese and Mandarin. 

Aliya Mussina,

Senior Advisor

Aliya Mussina joined Strategic Minds Company in 2022. 

Mussina has been a partner and CEO of the Center for Economic, Social and Legal Initiatives AQ-i since July 2021.

Between 2007 to June 2021, Mussina worked for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Kazakhstan. Initially she was working as a Head of Representative, where she was instrumental on opening and establishing the Foundation’s representation in Kazakhstan, and then as a research associate. In the last 5 years she was responsible specifically for projects with focus on transformation of the economy, climate and energy. 

From 2010 to 2012, Aliya Mussina was also appointed as a board member of the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan. 

Prior to that, Mussina was Head of Department „International projects“ and lecturer at the German-Kazakh University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She was also a lecturer at the Advanced Training Academy of the Economy in Saalfeld, Germany at the University of Pavlodar, worked at the Chamber of Commerce and at the Ministry of Youth in Kazakhstan. 

In 2005 she obtained a Master of Arts degree from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. Before that in 1998, she graduated from the Torajgyrov University in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan in the field of German language and literature. 

Between 2001-2003, Mussina participated in a postgraduate program at the Faculty of Economics of the German-Kazakh University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

In 2018, she spent a semester at the Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde for further education and research. 

Mussina is an alumna of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the DAAD and the Goethe Institute. 

Aliya Mussina was born in Kazakhstan on August 16, 1975. She speaks Kazakh, German, Russian and English.

Karsten Möring

Senior Advisor

was born on August 30, 1949 in Schneverdingen (Lower Saxony). After studying geography and history at the University of Cologne, he entered the teaching profession in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, most recently as headmaster of a grammar school in Cologne for 21 years. 

Möring was a member of the Cologne City Council from 1999 to 2013 (Transport Committee, Finance Committee) and a member and spokesperson on transport policy in the Regional Council of the Cologne administrative district from 2001 to 2013. From 2004 to 2013, he was Chairman of the Association Assembly of the Rhine-Sieg Transport Association and Chairman of the CDU parliamentary group. He also held these functions in the newly founded Verkehrsverbund Nahverkehr Rheinland from 2008 to 2013.

From 2013 to 2021, Karsten Möring was a member of the German Bundestag for the federal constituency 93 Cologne I. As a member of the Bundestag, he was a full member of the Committee for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and Committee for Construction, Housing, Urban Development and Municipalities. He was a deputy member of the committees on economics and energy and on transport and digital infrastructure.  

Karsten Möring is married and lives with his wife in Cologne.

Arash Duero

Principal

As Principal, Arash Duero is in charge of energy and commodities as well as for some regions of the Middle East. He joined Strategic Minds Company in 2011.

Arash Duero is an Advisor to the Global Gas Centre, a member of the German Economic Council, and a Senior Fellow and Head of Strategic Programs at the European Cluster for Climate, Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS), University of Bonn. Formerly, he was a policy officer at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in the Netherlands, as well as a research fellow at the Berlin Centre for Caspian Region Studies at the Free University of Berlin. 

A native of Savannah, Georgia, USA, Arash Duero studied economics at Georgia Southern University and holds an advanced degree in Political Science with a focus on Macroeconomics and International Energy Policy from the Free University in Berlin, Germany. In addition to his native tongue of English, he speaks German fluently and can converse in Farsi and Armenian. He is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Sebastian Kiefer

M.A. / Principal

Sebastian Kiefer joined the Strategic Minds Company team in 2019. He is responsible for the Central Asian region, as well as Central and Eastern Europe.

Previously, he worked for the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK), where he was responsible for economics and energy and headed the government relations department. 

During his studies of political science, public law and history at the University of Regensburg, he specialized on transformation processes of post-Soviet societies and on International Relations.

Sebastian Kiefer speaks German, English and Russian.

Hauke Hansen

Hauke Hansen

Consultant

Hauke Hansen has been working for Strategic Minds since 2022 and focuses on energy, climate and raw material issues.  

Prior to this he worked for a tax advisory company, and as an advisor for budget policy issues for an association in Berlin.

Hauke Hansen received his Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Hamburg, and his Master of Arts in General Management at the IUBH Bad Honnef.

He speaks German, English and French.

Felix Styma

Senior Advisor

Felix Styma has been with Strategic Minds Company since 2014 and is mainly responsible for the company’s activities in the digital sector. Additionally, he is Managing Partner of iconomy, a consultancy that supports companies and investors in the digital sector. Furthermore, he serves the Internet Economy Foundation as Advisor.

Felix Styma studied Public Policy and Management (M.A.) at the University of Potsdam, focusing on International Politics and Public Management. Before, he received a B.A. in European Studies at the University of Maastricht, where he concentrated on the structures of the European single market as well as the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Felix spent one semester at the Sciences PO (Institute d’Etudes Politiques) in Lille, France, and participated in the MARBLE excellence initiative of the Dutch Government.

Felix Styma has worked, among other things, at an internationally oriented policy and communication consultancy, for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and for a development NGO in Argentina. He also supported the Internet Economy Foundation as Public Policy & Operations Manager from its very beginning.

Felix was born in Kamp-Lintfort (North Rhine-Westphalia) and speaks German, English and Spanish.

Irmgard Braun

Buchhaltung

Since 2010, Irmgard Braun is in charge of the company’s finances and controlling.

She has completed a professional training as an office administrator and has worked for Computer Manufaktur GmbH (Berlin) and Hayde AG (Bonn). Her areas of responsibility were bookkeeping, human resources, trainings, management events and internal communication.

Irmgard Braun was born in Tirol. She speaks German and English.

Clark Parsons

Senior Advisor

Clark Parsons joined us in 2016. He is Senior Advisor to Strategic Minds Company and Managing Director of the Internet Economy Foundation

A native of Alabama in the USA, he began his career as a journalist in Nashville, Tennesse (Daily Variety, Cable Guide, The Tennessean, Nashville Banner, Nashville Scene). He was then Editor-in-chief of a city magazine (Nashville Life), regular guest on local radio (WRLT-FM) and also worked as a consultant for rapidly-growing Internet companies like CitySearch. He was awarded a Robert Bosch Fellowship in 1997 and moved to Germany, staying on to continue his career in consulting and media management.

As the first Project Manager of the Media sector for the Industrial Investment Council, he advised US and UK Internet and media companies on locating in Germany. In 2000 he helped establish a digital TV broadcaster as its Country Manager. After working with a California-based travel-industry startup team during the height of the dot.com bubble, he returned to Germany as a broadcast media consultant at KPMG/BearingPoint. He then worked as Country Manager for an international IT business development network, establishing Germany sales channels and partnerships for companies from Israel and the Nordics.

Startup fever struck again in 2005, when Clark and a co-founder launched Vortel GmbH, a VoIP telephony company that was sold in 2008 to Inter.net. He then led a private, global leadership school for the creative industries, the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. As its Managing Director for more than 6 years, Clark helped build the school from young idea to thriving business, now well known among industry leaders from advertising, marketing, digital, entertainment, design and news media.

Having departed the Berlin School in 2015 to get back to his digital roots, Clark joined the team establishing the Internet Economy Foundation at its start in January 2016. He serves as Managing Director and is working to establish the IE.F as a noted and networked voice for the development of a strong Internet economy in Germany, Europe and worldwide. He lives in Berlin with his wife and two young digital natives.

COMPETENCE

REPRESENTATION OF INTERESTS IN GERMANY, EUROPE AND BEYOND - Enforcement of your corporate interests

  • In order to assert your interests in the best possible way, it is crucial to address the relevant stakeholders in a targeted and convincing manner.
  • Our approach: In a workshop, we would like to get to know you and your company and define the action agenda together.
  • And define the action agenda together.
  • We identify and address relevant decision-makers and establish the contact with you.
  • We develop convincing messages with you.
  • Continuous monitoring to communicate your messages at the right time.
  • Calling in our partners if we are not able to help.

MARKET ENTRY SUPPORT Germany, European Union, Global

  • We analyze the opportunities and risks of the political and economic framework in the target country.
  • Assistance in overcoming political or regulatory obstacles.
  • Advice on subsidy policies in the target country.
  • Our approach: We bring you and the best experts for your project together in a collaborative workshop.
  • We organize delegation trips to target countries and accompany you to the most important economic and political meetings.
  • We support you in target countries from the first steps onwards.
  • When entering the German market: support in registering your company, finding suitable office property and qualified employees.
  • Permanent monitoring of geoeconomic developments in the target country.

IDENTIFICATION OF ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENTS. Expansion and development of your market position through investments, joint ventures, M&A

  • We support you in identifying domestic or foreign investment objects (greenfield and brownfield projects).
  • We advise you on whether an investment is the right fit for your portfolio.
  • We support you in identifying and approaching the right partners.
  • Analysis of the applicable regulatory framework.
  • Support in identifying and addressing relevant decision-makers.
  • Comprehensive opportunity and risk analysis for your company.
  • Assistance with due diligence.
  • Post-investment consulting.

EVALUATION OF GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRENDS. Creation of stakeholder and market analyses

  • Our experts analyze how global trends are taking shape in your company’s target market.
  • Our particular focus is on the analysis of (geo)economic and social trends.
  • Identification and evaluation of current trends on a global and regional level.
  • Based on our evaluation, we create an individualized requirement profile for your company: What opportunities and risks arise for you?
  • Development of concrete action plans.
  • Monitoring the implementation of the recommendations for action.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MEDIATION. Arbitration in international conflict situations

  • Our experts are at your disposal as mediators in conflict situations with international partners in order to represent your interests in the best possible way.
  • Through their experience in leading positions in politics and business, they have the sensitivity that is needed in such situations.
  • Our goal: The fair balance of interests between the companies involved through trustworthy cooperation.
  • We want to avoid lengthy legal disputes between the conflicting parties.

CEO-POSITIONING, PUBLIC AFFAIRS, COMMUNICATIONS. Optimizing your communication

  • With individual media training, we prepare you to navigate safely and professionally in the media environment (TV and Internet formats).
  • We give you the attention you need to communicate your messages effectively.
  • Conducting a workshop to get to know you and your company in detail.
  • Joint identification of your USP.
  • We flesh out your positioning objectives.
  • Support in identifying stakeholders and engaging them effectively.
  • Creation of short, concise and convincing suggestions for the formulation of your message(s).
  • We control the performance of your communication strategy.

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY-BUILDING. Establishment and expansion of networks

  • If you want to assert your entrepreneurial interests, you need real partners.
  • Advantages of having the right partner: Knowledge transfer through exchange with like-minded people, learning of best practices, pooling of strength and resources as well as joint positioning.
  • We support you in identifying and approaching relevant partners and partner networks on a national and international level.
  • Analysis of interest groups.
  • Organization of exchange.
  • Preparation of joint initiatives and campaigns.

PROFESSIONAL CONFERENCES, MEETINGS, WORKSHOPS. Personal exchange with partners and decision-makers

  • We connect you with relevant companies as well as decision-makers from the German and European policy community.
  • Exclusive opportunity to present your concerns in selected expert circles and thus make them heard.
  • Individual design of the event format according to your ideas.
  • Possible formats: Professional roundtables, meetings, workshops, breakfasts, dinners
  • You determine the number of participants and the duration of the event.
  • Our experts give you access to both practitioners and decision-makers.

TECH POLICY. Governmental affairs strategy for technology-driven business models

  • We analyze tech policy processes and initiatives and their opportunities and risks for startups and scaleups.
  • We connect the most relevant players and decision-makers in the German and European startup ecosystem.
  • We create structures for effective and long-term political work of rapidly growing companies.
  • Analysis of policy processes, initiatives, stakeholders, opportunities and risks.
  • Based on our analysis results, we create robust positioning strategies.
  • We support the development of in-house know-how and public affairs resources.
  • We support advocacy.
  • Continuous monitoring.

VENTURE BUILDING. Incubation and support of tomorrow‘s tech champions

  • We support founding teams in validating their ideas and taking the first steps.
  • We connect and position early-stage entrepreneurs with the most relevant players in the tech ecosystem.
  • We accompany entrepreneurs through initial rounds of financing and on their way to the global market.
  • Pitch-Deck Analysis / Development and Improvement.  
  • Product-Market Fit Development.
  • Joint development of Go2Market strategies and exploration of long-term scaling opportunities.
  • Fundraising planning and support.
  • We identify and approach investors and strategic partners.
  • Continuous monitoring of the market positioning of your startup.

OFFICE

Uhlandstraße 175, 10719 Berlin

ADDRESSE

Uhlandstraße 175
10719 Berlin
Germany

CONTACT

office [at] strategic-minds.eu
+49 30 88 77 42 9 -0
Internetadresse: www.strategic-minds.eu

Strategic Minds Company GmbH is a registered lobbyist under register number R002035 of the Lobby Register at the German Bundestag and is subject to the legal code of conduct of the LobbyRG.