Ole von Beust
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Ole von Beust
Ole von Beust in 2009
|First Mayor of Hamburg|
31 October 2001 – 25 August 2010
|Preceded by||Ortwin Runde|
|Succeeded by||Christoph Ahlhaus|
|President of the German Bundesrat|
|Preceded by||Harald Ringstorff|
|Succeeded by||Peter Müller|
Carl-Friedrich Arp Ole von Beust
13 April 1955
|Political party||Christian Democratic Union|
|Alma mater||University of Hamburg|
Carl-Friedrich Arp Ole Freiherr von Beust, generally called Ole von Beust (born 13 April 1955), is a German politician who was First Mayor of Hamburg from 31 October 2001 to 25 August 2010, serving as President of the Bundesrat from 1 November 2007 on for one year. He was succeeded as mayor by Christoph Ahlhaus.
Life and work
Born in Hamburg, he is the son of Achim Helge Freiherr von Beust and Hanna, née Wolff, who was considered half Jewish in Nazi Germany. Through his father he is a descendant of Saxon and Austrian statesman Count Friedrich Ferdinand von Beust.
In 1971 Beust became a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). In 1973, after finishing high school, he worked for the CDU group in Hamburg's city-state parliament ("Bürgerschaft"), a position he held until he started to study law in 1975 at the University of Hamburg. From 1977 until 1983 he was Hamburg president of the youth organisation of his party. Since 1978 Beust has been a member of the Hamburg city-state's parliament. In 1983 he successfully completed his studies and became an independent lawyer.
He has been a member of the ruling council of the Hamburg Land CDU since 1992, and of the national ruling council of the CDU party since 1998.
First Mayor of Hamburg
On 31 October 2001, Ole von Beust became First Mayor of Hamburg.
When Hamburg experienced an exodus of jobs after major corporations including cigarette-maker Reemtsma, travel and shipping company Hapag-Lloyd, haircare products-maker Hans Schwarzkopf and the Vereins and Westbank AG were acquired by companies outside of Hamburg, von Beust had the city's investment arm, the Hamburger Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsverwaltung, join forces with retailer Tchibo for the acquisition of cosmetics maker Beiersdorf in 2003. This put American multinational Procter & Gamble out of the bidding and preserved Beiersdorf as a publicly traded, stand-alone company in Hamburg.
As host of Hamburg’s annual St. Matthew’s Day banquet for the city’s civic and business leaders, von Beust invited several high-ranking guests of honour to the city, including Queen Silvia of Sweden (2003), King Abdullah II of Jordan (2005), Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (2006), President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania (2008).
On 19 August 2003, Beust dismissed his vice-mayor, Ronald Schill, causing a scandal. Beust had earlier dismissed Walter Wellinghausen, senator of the interior and Schill's most important official, without consulting Schill beforehand. This was due to public allegations of misconduct on Wellinghausen's part. In a private conversation, Schill then demanded that Beust take back the dismissal, allegedly using personal threats. Beust then decided to dismiss Schill as well.
In the (preassigned) press conference Schill held minutes after he had heard of his own dismissal, he spoke vaguely of "homosexual relationships", a "flat in an infamous hustler district" and "certain things happened that let one infer the occurrence of love acts" between Beust and Roger Kusch, who Beust had appointed minister (in German city-states "senator") of justice. Beust in turn stated that Schill threatened to make his alleged liaison with Kusch public under the premise that Beust intermingled public and private affairs. He said he had no sexual relationship with Kusch, that they merely knew each other for 25 years and were good friends, and that Beust was Kusch's landlord. "This is all – absolutely all", according to Beust.
His unprepared statement to the press quickly earned Schill an homophobic reputation. A popular radio-station broadcast a song calling him "Mega-Proll" (mega redneck) and gay and lesbian associations protested vocally. Schill however later affirmed Beust's version of the story, except for the accusations of blackmail, saying that he warned Beust to stay clear of nepotism, and that this had nothing to do with Beust's sexual orientation. He stated "I have nothing against homosexuals".
In a later interview, Beust's father confirmed that his son is indeed homosexual. Beust himself considers his sexual orientation a private matter; when asked directly he usually ironically refers the interviewer to his father.
The Hamburg elections of 29 February 2004, ended with an unprecedented landslide victory for Ole von Beust and the CDU, with the party achieving an overall majority in the city-state's parliament. The CDU gained 47.2 percent of the vote, a full 21-point increase from the previous election in September 2001. This was the first time since 1993 the city-state has had only a single ruling party.
Between 2007 and 2009, von Beust was one of 32 members of the Second Commission on the modernization of the federal state, which had been established to reform the division of powers between federal and state authorities in Germany.
In the Hamburg elections of 24 February 2008, the CDU gained 42.6 percent of the vote. Thus, the CDU continued to be the strongest party in Hamburg. However, since the CDU lost its absolute majority, it formed a coalition government with the Greens. At the time, the two party’s cooperation was widely seen as a test for a possible coalition at the national level.
In February 2009, von Beust and Minister President Peter Harry Carstensen of Schleswig-Holstein agreed on a €13 billion bailout of state-owned shipping financier HSH Nordbank. The two states were forced to intervene after the SoFFin fund, which had been set up by the federal government in 2008 to stabilize the financial markets, said it could not help out HSH Nordbank until it got rid of all its bad debts.
Ahead of the 2009 national elections, von Beust was tipped as potential Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development in the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel; in the negotiations on a coalition agreement with the FDP, however, the position went to Dirk Niebel.
In 2010, von Beust became the first German state leader to indicate that his state was in principle willing to provide humanitarian solutions for former Guantanamo inmates approved for release; Hamburg later accepted one released detainee.
On 18 July 2010 Ole von Beust announced his resignation, to take effect on 25 August. Leaving office alongside von Beust were Karin von Welck, Hamburg's State Minister for Culture, and Volkmar Schoen of the senate chancellery.
Shortly after, voters in Hamburg toppled von Beust’s proposed education reforms in the city-state's first binding referendum. The vote assured the preservation of Hamburg's four-year primary schools, rather than extending primary education to six years, which the ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Greens had proposed.
Life after politics
Upon leaving active politics, von Beust opened his own law firm and joined consultancy Roland Berger as advisor. In 2012, he succeeded Klaus von Dohnányi as Executive Director of the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People.
During a strike of ground crew at Frankfurt Airport in February 2012, von Beust was appointed as arbitrator by airport operator Fraport for negotiations with trade union GdF. The union accepted his proposed settlement plan; Fraport, however, rejected the deal.
In addition, von Beust has been holding various paid and unpaid positions, including the following:
- Friends of the Fraekelufer Synagogue, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Alliander AG, Member of the Advisory Board (since 2016)
- BoxDirect AG, Member of the Supervisory Board
- CH2 Contorhaus Hansestadt Hamburg AG, Chairman of the Supervisory Board
- Donner & Reuschel, Advisor (since 2014)
- ECE Projektmanagement, Member of the Sustainability Board
- Germela, Member of the Advisory Board
- Varengold Bank, Member of the Advisory Board (since 2013)
- Wirtschaftsrat der CDU, Member of the Board
- Rotary International, Member
- HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, Ex-Officio Chairman of the Supervisory Board (2010)
In late 2015, von Beust was named co-chairman (alongside Jürgen Trittin and Matthias Platzeck) of a government-appointed commission tasked with recommending by early 2016 how to safeguard the funding of fulfilling Germany’s exit from nuclear energy. By April 2016, the commission agreed to ask the power firms to pay €23.3 billion ($26.4 billion) into a state fund to cover the costs of nuclear waste storage.
Von Beust was a finalist for the World Mayor prize of 2010.
- Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin. However, the title provides no legal privileges of any sort in Germany.
- Präsidenten des Bundesrates seit 1949 (in German), archived from the original on 2008-06-25, retrieved 2008-11-10
- Munzinger Online; s.v. Ole von Beust
- German Group Secures Stake in Beiersdorf Deutsche Welle, October 24, 2003.
- "A scandal in Germany", European press review, bbc.co.uk, 2003-08-21, retrieved 2008-08-13
- Mayor von Beust to govern alone after victory in Hamburg election, Deutsche Welle, 2004, retrieved 2008-08-13
- "Die CSD-Parade ist wichtig für die ganze Welt" (in German). Die Welt. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- German conservatives win most votes, usa today, 2008-02-24, retrieved 2008-08-13
- Mayor Resigns, In Blow to Merkel Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2010.
- Chris Bryant (February 24, 2009), States agree €13bn HSH bail-out package Archived 2016-12-30 at the Wayback Machine. Financial Times.
- Germany's HSH Nordbank Saved from Collapse Der Spiegel, February 24, 2009.
- Christian Vooren (May 22, 2016), Ole von Beust - der Hobbyist Der Tagesspiegel.
- Germany's Guests from Guantanamo Are the Former Prisoners a Security Threat? Spiegel Online, July 12, 2010.
- Mark Hallam and Catherine Bolsover (July 18, 2010), Hamburg mayor and Merkel ally Ole von Beust steps down Deutsche Welle.
- Referendum quashes Hamburg school reform, cripples coalition Deutsche Welle, July 19, 2010.
- Matthias Krupa and Tanja Stelzer (June 1, 2011), Ole von Beust: "Ich gehöre niemandem!" Die Zeit.
- Board of Directors Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People.
- Strike at Frankfurt airport to continue Monday Reuters, February 19, 2012.
- Ulrich Zawatka-Gerlach (May 30, 2018), Kuratorium vorgestellt: Prominente unterstützen Synagogenbau am Kreuzberger Fraenkelufer Der Tagesspiegel.
- Alliander AG gründet Beirat mit namhaften Persönlichkeiten Alliander AG, press release of January 29, 2016.
- Supervisory Board BoxDirect AG.
- Supervisory Board CH2 Contorhaus Hansestadt Hamburg AG.
- Donner & Reuschel gewinnt Ole von Beust Donner & Reuschel, press release of March 10, 2014.
- Sustainability Board ECE Projektmanagement.
- Advisory Board Archived 2016-12-30 at the Wayback Machine. Germela.
- Varengold Wertpapierhandelsbank AG: Ole von Beust in den Beirat berufen Varengold Bank, press release of December 11, 2012.
- Board Wirtschaftsrat der CDU.
- Erster Bürgermeister Ole von Beust ist neuer Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der HafenCity Hamburg GmbH HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, press release of April 26, 2010.
- John O'Donnell and Christoph Steitz (29 November 2015), Minister signals German trust could handle nuclear waste storage Reuters.
- Markus Wacket and Christoph Steitz (27 April 2016), German firms could pay less than feared for nuclear clean-up Reuters.
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