Prof. Dr. Kurt Joachim Lauk (born 19 May 1946, Stuttgart), is a German politician and a former Member of the European Parliament for Baden-Württemberg.
Lauk has an MA in history and theology from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1977. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Kiel in Germany.
Between 1978 and 1984, Lauk led Boston Consulting Group’s German practice. He was deputy chief executive officer and chief financial o(with responsibility for finance, controlling and marketing) of Audi AG between 1989 and 1992. Ten months after the trans-Atlantic merger that created DaimlerChrysler A.G. in 1999, Lauk, then the head of Daimler's truck division, stepped down along with Thomas T. Stallkamp, CEO of Chrysler, and Heiner Tropitzsch, Daimler’s personnel chief.
Lauk is the co-founder and president of Globe CP GmbH, a private investment firm established in 2000.
Member of the European Parliament, 2004-2009
Lauk is a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, part of the European People's Party. He was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, during which time he was a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and a deputy member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
An adviser to German chancellor Angela Merkel, he is president of the Economic Council of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU-Wirtschaftsrat), a business-based advisory group closely affiliated with the party yet not officially part of it.
As head of the Economic Council, Lauk has advocated a more forceful discussion of economic issues in Germany and has been highly critical of Merkel’s economic policies. He has been a vocal critic of Merkel's reluctance to introduce bold economic reforms, often arguing that she has been bowing to pressure from the Social Democratic Party over several major issues, including the introduction of a minimum wage and pensions increases. On government proposals to cut the retirement age for veteran workers to 63 and increase pensions for mothers in 2014, Lauk argued that Germany was setting "a bad example" not only for vulnerable southern European nations but also for France.
In 2010, Lauk described German industry as "the infrastructure provider to emerging countries" for the next 10 years, yet warned that promising areas like software, biogenetics and nanotechnologies were lacking. As for Germany's role as world export leader, he argued that the country's current weakness suggested that over the next decade it could probably sink to a middling place in the global top ten.
In a 2015 letter published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Lauk wrote to German lawmakers urging them to vote against the Merkel government’s proposal for a four-month extension of Greece's bailout, arguing that "a simple extension of the aid program without effective terms would mean that we are knowingly throwing further good money after bad".