Exclusive Exclusive: Former Top German Politician to Join Blackrock Supervisory Board

Friedrich Merz, a former big wig in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party, will head the non-executive supervisory board of investment firm Blackrock’s German operations, Handelsblatt has learned. Mr. Merz, currently a lawyer with Mayer Brown LLP, will replace Markus Rudolf on the panel, which has to approve all major business decisions and can hire and fire executives in Germany. Germany’s financial regulator BaFin, already familiar with Mr. Merz as he has served on other supervisory boards, is expected to approve the move, sources said. Financial expert Mr. Merz and Blackrock started talks about a half a year ago, Handelsblatt has learned. At the time, the 60-year old former politician met with Blackrock founder Larry Fink as well as Christian Staub, the head of its German subsidiary. The goal is for Mr. Merz to be an active chairman and use his network of contacts to help Blackrock, the world’s largest fund manager, expand its presence in the German market, according to sources. Neither Blackrock nor Mr. Merz would comment on the move.