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Germany Appoints Central Bank IT Chief to Head Cybersecurity

Germany appointed Claudia Plattner to lead its cybersecurity agency, months after her predecessor was removed following reports of possible problematic ties to Russia.

The German government announced the appointment Tuesday of the European Central Bank’s head of IT systems to lead the national cybersecurity agency, months after her predecessor was removed following reports of possible problematic ties to Russia.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Claudia Plattner “brings the experience and expertise with her that we need for cybersecurity in these particularly challenging times.” She will take charge of the BSI agency on July 1, becoming the first woman in the role.

Faeser dismissed the BSI’s previous head, Arne Schoenbohm, in October. He had been in charge of the agency since 2016.

Schoenbohm co-founded a cybersecurity group a decade ago that brought together experts from public institutions and the private sector. German media reported that one of its members was a company founded by a former Russian intelligence agent. The group said last week that it had thrown out the company.

The Interior Ministry said in the fall that the allegations “damaged the necessary confidence of the public in the neutrality and impartiality” of Schoenbohm’s management.

Schoenbohm defended himself against the allegations. He has since taken up a new job as the head of another body overseen by the Interior Ministry, the Federal Academy of Public Administration.

Plattner worked for German railway operator Deutsche Bahn’s IT provider, DB Systel, before joining the ECB in July 2021. The Frankfurt-based central bank said it would announce a successor “in due course.”

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