German auto industry group appoints former Merkel aide

Business

BERLIN (AP) — An influential group representing the German auto industry has chosen Hildegard Mueller, who was once a senior aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel, as its new leader.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry, or VDA, announced the appointment on Friday. Mueller said in a statement that “the auto industry is the backbone of the German economy.”

Mueller will replace Bernhard Mattes, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

The 52-year-old Mueller once led the youth wing of Merkel’s center-right party and served in Merkel’s chancellery in the early years of her leadership, overseeing relations with state governments.

She went on to lead an energy industry association and most recently worked for energy company Innogy, which runs charging stations for electric cars.

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