German-British Forum

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The objective of the German-British Forum, according to its own account, 'is to enlarge the common ground and reduce the room for misunderstanding between Germany and Britain by focusing attention on the strong links binding the two countries together. It has a particular interest in encouraging dialogue in the areas of business and social policy and in helping lay the basis for economic reforms to increase jobs and investment.'[1] The Forum is in other words an elite networking organisation to foster unity amongst the business classes. 'There is growing focus' it says 'on efforts to promote "cultural literacy" among managers and business partners in the two countries to allow them to understand and bridge the differences in the two countries' business cultures.'

The Forum is run by a senior array of business and political leaders, including a significant component of those active in foreign policy and other elite networking activities. the president is the former UK Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, and other well networked faces include Michael MacLay, a former special advisor to Hurd and to Carl Bildt. McLay was an early member of the British American Project and has been involved with the spy firm Hakluyt, set up by former members of the UK intelligence agency MI6. McLay also helped to set up the similar Club of Three with Lord Weidenfeld who is also involved in the GBF. Weidenfeld - a former Political Advisor and Chef de Cabinet in Israel to Dr. Chaim Weizmann in 1949 made a career in publishing, but is also active in atlanticist and Neoconservative linked organisations being a board member at the EastWest Institute engaged in low profile work in Eastern Europe; a UK trustee of the Zionist Jerusalem Foundation and invoolved with the neoconservative New Atlantic Initiative. Also involved with the forum are an array of PR operatives including from Burson-Marsteller and Quiller Consultants (the PR firm owned by Huntsworth and through which it's boss Peter Gummer, well connected in these circles, operates).

Think tank connections to note are with the New Labour oriented Foreign Policy Centre and the intelligence connected Centre for European Reform.


Current activities


'The Forum has a Management Board of 14 members and an Advisory Council of 18 members. People connected with the Forum carry out most administrative tasks free of charge. None of the Forum's Directors or Advisory Council takes a salary or draws administrative expenses.'[2]

Zacharias Gertler, the Neoconservative connected individual who is one of London's 'Secret rich' is listed as a director.[3]

GBF Advisory Board

According to the GBF website:[4] Dr. Gottfried von Bismarck, Senior Consultant, Körber AG | Sir Nigel Broomfield KCMG Bernard Carey, Director, Pielle Consulting | The Lord Cobbold, Lytton Enterprises Ltd | Dr. Stephen Collins, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Skype | Dr. Horst Füllenkemper | Dr. Ulrich Hoppe, Managing Director, German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce | Frederick R. Hopson | Peter Mather, Vice President, External Affairs (Europe and sub-Saharan Africa), BP plc | Thomas Kielinger OBE, UK Correspondent, Die Welt | George Magan, Partner, Rhone Group Limited | George W. Mallinckrodt, President, Schroders plc | Ingrid McAlpine | Robert Meier, Robert Bosch Ltd | Prof Rüdiger von Rosen, Geschäftsführendes Mitglied, Deutsches Aktieninstitut e.V. | Simon Tilford, Chief Economist, Centre for European Reform | Maxine Vlieland OBE | Lord George W. Weidenfeld, Chairman, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

GBF Management Board

President The Rt. Hon. Lord Hurd of Westwell CH CBE PC, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs | Chairman Professor William (Willie) Paterson OBE AcSS FRSE FRSA, Director, Institute for German Studies, University of Birmingham

Board Members

Robert Bischof*, Chairman, Vitalize Health Products Ltd. | Zak Gertler, Managing Director, Gertler Properties Ltd | Patricia Godfrey*, Partner and Head of German Group, Nabarro | Dr. Rebecca Harding, Executive Director, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, London Business School | Michael Knapstein, Chief Financial Officer, T-Systems Ltd. | Jürgen Krönig, UK Correspondent, Die Zeit | Mark Lewis, Director of Utilities Equity Research Team, Deutsche Bank | David Marsh CBE*, Chairman, London and Oxford Capital Markets plc | Andreas Meyer-Schwickerath, Executive Director, British Chamber of Commerce in Germany | Dr. Carolyn Moore, Institute for German Studies, University of Birmingham | Lord Watson of Richmond CBE, Chairman, Europe, Burson-Marsteller | Zoe Pettman ACA (Company Secretary)

* Deputy Chairman

German-British Forum Awards Jury

President Patricia Godfrey, Partner and Head of German Group, Nabarro

Jury Members

Roger Boyes, Berlin Correspondent, The Times | Brian Gosschalk, Chief Executive, Ipsos-MORI | John Eisenhammer, Director, Quiller Consultants | Robert Meier, Robert Bosch Ltd | Thomas Kielinger, UK Correspondent, Die Welt | Antje Schlamm, Director, London, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst | Michael Maclay, Director, Montrose Associates | Professor William (Willie) Paterson OBE AcSS FRSE FRSA, Director, Institute for German Studies, University of Birmingham | Christoph Urban, Chairman, British-German Association | Michael Knapstein, Chief Financial Officer, T-Systems Ltd | Barry Stickings CBE | Professor Michael Stürmer, Chief Correspondent, Verlag Axel Springer | Gina Thomas, UK Cultural Correspondent, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung | Rolf Seelmann, Journalist, Seelmannfilm


According to its own website 'The GBF is funded through donations from companies, foundations and individuals. Past sponsors and supporters include'[5]

BMW | Bankgesellschaft Berlin | Barclays Bank | Behrenberg Bank | Robert Bosch | BASF | BP | Commerzbank | Deutsche Bundesbank | Droege & Comp. | Deutsche Bank | DZ Bank | Hawkpoint Partners | Henkel | Herbert Quandt Foundation | Hessische Landesbank | Institute for German Studies | Körber Stiftung | McIntyre & King | Nabarro Nathanson | Sal. Oppenheim | RWE | Rheinmetall | Robert Fleming | Royal Bank of Scotland | Siemens | 3i | Veba | Westdeutsche Landesbank


'The Forum would like to thank the following partners and sponsors for their support from 1995 to date:'[6]

Anglo-German Foundation for the Study of Industrial Society | Asea Brown Boveri AG | Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG | Bankside | Barclays Bank plc | BASF plc | BMW Group | BoschBoss Group Ltd | British Chamber of Commerce in Germany | British Council | British German Association | British Petroleum plc | Business for New Europe | CCTV | Centre for European Reform | China Contact | China-Britain Business Council | Delta Economics | Deminex UK Oil and Gas Ltd | Deutsche Bank | Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft | East Midlands Development Agency | E.ON UK | Euroforum | European Research Institute | Evonik Industries | Financial News | Finoble | Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London | | German Embassy, London | German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce | Goethe Institut | Handelsblatt | Hawkpoint Partners Limited, London | Herax Partners | Herbert Quandt Stiftung | Institute for Corporate Culture Affairs | Institute for German Studies | Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen | Landeszentralbank Hessen | London & Oxford Group | London School of Economics | Management Consulting Group plc | Mellenthin & Co | Nabarro Nathanson | Parson | PriceWaterhouseCoopers | Proudfoot Consulting plc | Rheinbraun AG | Rheinmetall AG | Robert Fleming Holdings Ltd | RWE AG | Siemens plc | Soditic | The Foreign Policy Centre | T-Systems | UK Trade & Investment | University of Birmingham | VEBA AG | Verein Deutscher Geldhändler | Warrington UK


Publications, Contact, Resources and Notes






  1. GBF Objectives, accessed 24 March 2009
  2. GBF Structure, accessed 24 March 2009
  3. Evening Standard, May 1 2007
  4. GBF People, accessed 24 March 2009
  5. GBF Funding, accessed 24 March 2009
  6. GBF People, accessed 24 March 2009