Frank Sportolari, CEO of the US logistics company UPS in Germany (Neuss) and President of AmCham Germany. In an interview he talks about his new position as head of the American Chamber of Commerce and his personal connection to NRW.
- Mr. Sportolari, the logistics company UPS opened its first German branch in Neuss 42 years ago. What advantages does NRW offer the company as a business location?
NRW is located very centrally in Europe, which makes it an ideal place for logistics. For example, we have our European hub at Cologne Bonn Airport for everything that needs to be flown due to time constraints, and we now employ over 3,000 people there. Our strong presence in a densely populated region also means proximity to many customers to whom we offer a reliable gateway to the world. There are also companies that have established themselves near our Air Hub in order, for example, to gain the fastest possible access to our global infrastructure.
- After seven years at UPS, what is your personal connection with NRW?
My family and I feel very much at home here. My four children all go to a high school in Düsseldorf and regards themselves as Düsseldorfers. This is also reflected in the fact that they sometimes speak in Rhenish dialect – which my wife, who comes from Hamburg, then tries to correct. But only with moderate success.
- The members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) recently elected you as their new president. What goals do you aim to achieve during your term of office?
These are turbulent times, and especially with regard to transatlantic trade. AmCham must be a voice for all the many companies that have invested here or in the US. We must make sure that this voice is heard – and it will be a voice of reason. We must make it clear that transatlantic trade and mutual investment are essential to the success of both countries and promote prosperity on both sides.
- Where do you see the biggest challenges for NRW as a business location in relation to the changes in trade with the USA?
Current developments are certainly worrying. Trade creates prosperity and trade barriers threaten trade. However, relations between NRW and the USA are strong and based on a successful tradition. It is important to engage in dialogue and to clarify standpoints.