Strategic Minds Company


Strategic positioning – with passion and sound judgement.


Joachim Lang becomes majority shareholder and sole managing director.


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.


Dr. Joachim Lang

Majority Shareholder
Managing Partner

Dr Joachim Lang, Chief Executive Officer of the BDI (Federation of German Industries) from April 2017 until the end of May 2022, has acquired a majority stake in Bingmann Pflüger International (BPI) and, as of June 1, 2022, will lead the strategic consulting firm founded in 2009 as sole Managing Director. With his entry, the company further aligns its focus on national and international developments in business, politics and society.

Lang, who has been Chief Executive Officer of the BDI since 2017, stepped down from this role on May 31, 2022 to become an independent entrepreneur. He previously headed the Group Representative Office of the DAX-listed company E.ON in Berlin for nine years. Before working in industry, the trained lawyer held senior positions in the Federal Chancellery and the Bundestag, among others.

In addition to the existing topics of energy and digitization, the portfolio will be expanded to include climate protection, transformation (of the economy), raw materials, real estate and new space. Lang’s specialization in foreign trade will also further strengthen the company’s existing international orientation.

Sibylle Pflüger

Partner and COO

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

Founding 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


Gerhard Hinterhäuser is Partner 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. 

Franziska Lange

Office Management

Franziska Lange joined Strategic Minds Company in 2018 as office manager.

She studied Spanish and English and specialized in economics and law at the Sprachen & Dolmetscher Institut München (SDI München). After several years in Spain, she worked from 1991 to 1996 as a consultant in the economic department of the Argentinian embassy and for Dr Pflüger in his office at the German Parliament.

After a stay of several years in South Africa and Egypt with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, she returned to Berlin in 2008 and worked as office manager in the newly established consultancy Pflüger und Stuth (later Pflüger International). From 2012 until 2018, Franziska joined her husband in the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s office in Croatia. Franziska returned to Pflüger International at the end of her husband’s foreign assignment abroad.

Arash Duero


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.

Cecily Bernstorff

Senior Consultant

Cecily Bernstorff has been working in the Energy, Climate and Commodities team since 2019. Her focus are the topics of hydrogen and natural gas, smart city and infrastructure, and has played a key role in setting up the alliance Clean Hydrogen Advisors ( In addition, she is responsible for projects in the Middle East and North Africa.

After a semester at the Université Saint-Joséph in Beirut, she studied Middle Eastern Studies (B.A.) at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and graduated with a Master of Advanced International Studies (M.A.I.S.) from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Her area of research was international economics and security policy.

Cecily Bernstorff has worked, among others, at a think tank in Tel Aviv, at the Munich Security Conference, and as a research assistant to the Chair of International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. In addition, she was a conflict researcher on various global conflicts and expanded her knowledge at an international think tank in Stockholm on security issues in the Middle East.

She is from the Rhineland and speaks German, English, French and Arabic.

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


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 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 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.

Ali Abdoli

wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

Ali Abdoli joined Strategic Minds Company in 2021 as a Research assistant.

As a student of Information Systems Management at the Technical University of Berlin, his core competency circles around Digital Transformation, E-Business and Information Systems. He also has experience working on energy-related topics. Ali was born in Tehran and spent nine years in Indonesia and Malaysia before moving to Berlin for higher education. His region of focus is the Middle -East, specifically Iran.

Ali Abdoli speaks English, German, Farsi and Bahasa Indonesia.


If you would like to become part of our team, please send your application to

We are always looking for qualified and charismatic consultants (f/m/divers) – but also good interns (f/m/divers) who are keen on a varied and exciting job.

We look forward to getting to know you!


Representation of interests at home and in Brussels

Support of German companies entering foreign markets

Support of foreign companies in Germany

Identification of attractive investment projects

Identification of partners for joint-ventures, M&A

Assessment of global and regional trends for companies, associations, foundations and governments

Preparation of risk and market analyses, evaluation of legal and political framework conditions

International business mediation

CEO positioning, development of public affairs and communications strategies

National and international community building

Professional conferences, meetings, workshops


Uhlandstraße 175, 10719 Berlin


Uhlandstraße 175
10719 Berlin


office [at]
+49 30 88 77 42 9 -0

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.