Ronald Pofalla

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Ronald Pofalla
Ronald Pofalla 2007.jpg
Head of the Chancellery
In office
28 October 2009 – 17 December 2013
ChancellorAngela Merkel
Preceded byThomas de Maizière
Succeeded byPeter Altmaier
Federal Minister for Special Affairs
In office
28 October 2009 – 17 December 2013
ChancellorAngela Merkel
Preceded byThomas de Maizière
Succeeded byPeter Altmaier
General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Union
In office
27 November 2006 – 28 October 2009
LeaderAngela Merkel
Preceded byVolker Kauder
Succeeded byHermann Gröhe
Member of the Bundestag
for Kleve
In office
16 October 1994 – 21 December 2014
Preceded byHeinrich Seesing
Succeeded byThorsten Hoffmann
Member of the Bundestag
for North Rhine-Westphalia
In office
2 December 1990 – 16 October 1994
Personal details
Born (1959-05-15) 15 May 1959 (age 59)
Weeze, Northrhine-Westphalia
Political partyCDU
Alma materUniversity of Cologne

Ronald Pofalla (born 15 May 1959 in Weeze) is a German politician of the CDU and a German manager. He was the Chief of Staff of the German Chancellery and a Federal Minister for Special Affairs from 2009 to 2013, in the second coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Since 2017, he is the CEO of the infrastructure department of Deutsche Bahn.

Early life and education[edit]

Pofalla studied social pedagogy at the Fachhochschule in Kleve. After finishing with a Diplom in 1981 he studied law at the University of Cologne. In 1991 he passed the second Staatsexamen. Since that time Pofalla has been licensed to work as a lawyer.

Political career[edit]

Pofalla has been a member of the CDU since 1975.[citation needed] At first he was engaged in the Junge Union. He was chairman of the JU in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1986 to 1992.

During his time in parliament, Pofalla served on the Committee for the Scrutiny of Elections, Immunity and the Rules of Procedure, the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Committee on Labour and Social Affairs and the Committee on Economic Affairs and Technology.

From 2004 to 2005 Pofalla was deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU's parliamentary group in the Bundestag under the leadership of Angela Merkel, and served as the Secretary General of the CDU from 2005 to 2009. In the negotiations to form a coalition government of the Christian Democrats and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) following the 2009 federal elections, he led the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on labour and social affairs; his counterpart of the FDP was Dirk Niebel.

After the elections, Pofalla succeeded Thomas de Maizière as Chief of Staff to Chancellor Angela Merkel. During his time in office, he was repeatedly criticized for being rude towards other representatives of the Bundestag and other members of the German government. In September 2011 he seriously insulted Wolfgang Bosbach, senior group leader of the CDU/CSU-group in the Bundestag after an in-house discussion about the enhancement of the European Financial Stability Facility.[1]

In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the 2013 federal elections, Pofalla was part of the 15-member leadership circle chaired by Merkel, Horst Seehofer and Sigmar Gabriel. As part of a cabinet reshuffle, he subsequently resigned as head of the Federal Chancellery.[2]

Private sector[edit]

In January 2014 it was reported that Pofalla would be joining the supervisory board of Deutsche Bahn, the state-owned national rail network of Germany. He had previously worked for the company's subsidiary DB Netz between 2005 and 2009.

At Deutsche Bahn, Pofalla took up a “specially created lobbying post” said to carry compensation of more than a million euros a year.[3] His successor in the Bundestag is Thorsten Hoffmann.

After transitioning to the private sector, Pofalla was made co-chairman of the Petersburg Dialogue, a semiofficial German-Russian symposium.[4] In 2018, he was also appointed to serve on the German government's so-called coal commission, which is tasked to develop a masterplan before the end of the year on how to phase-out coal and create a new economic perspective for the country's coal-mining regions.[5]

Other activities[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

  • KfW, Member of the Supervisory Board (2002-2006)

Non-profit organizations[edit]

Management boards[edit]

Political positions[edit]

During his time in politics, Pofalla took an active interest in Belarus. In 2012, he publicly condemned the execution of Vladislav Kovalyov and Dmitry Konovalov, both 26, saying this move would further alienate Belarus from Europe. "Lukashenko thus drifts even further away from our European values," he said. "The already heavily burdened relation between Belarus and Europe will be rendered yet more difficult by this."[7]

In the context of the Ukraine crisis, Pofalla has commented that “it wasn’t clever of Barack Obama to have downgraded Russia, in connection with the Ukraine conflict, to the level of a regional power.”[8]


Pofalla caused controversy when German tabloid Bild revealed that he had bought premium Montblanc writing materials worth 3,307.61 euros for his MP office at the expense of the Bundestag in 2009; at the time, it was the highest recorded order by any parliamentarian.[9]


  1. ^ "Merkel Ally Under Fire for Profanity-Ridden Tirade". Der Spiegel.
  2. ^ Stefan Wagstyl (December 14, 2013), Germany’s SPD backs coalition with Merkel’s CDU Financial Times.
  3. ^ "German Politician's Rush to Lobbying Brings Scorn". New York Times. January 3, 2014.
  4. ^ John Vinocur (November 2, 2015), Europe Gives Up on ‘Hope’ Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Andreas Franke (June 6, 2018), Germany launches commission tasked to develop coal exit masterplan S&P Global Platts.
  6. ^ Board of Trustees Jewish Museum Berlin.
  7. ^ Luke Harding and Yuras Karmanau (March 18, 2013), EU outraged after Belarus executes two men accused of Metro bombing The Guardian.
  8. ^ John Vinocur (November 2, 2015), Europe Gives Up on ‘Hope’ Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ Kate Brady (August 25, 2016), German MPs expenses to be reconsidered following stationery scandal Deutsche Welle.

External links[edit]

Media related to Ronald Pofalla at Wikimedia Commons