Questioned by the press on the subject, Gabriel emphasized that he had provided the federal government in Berlin with timely and comprehensive information about his planned career move.
Following the veteran politician's recent replacement with Heiko Maas (SPD) in the new "grand coalition', he was hereby abiding by regulations concerning the professional conduct of individuals who have from departed public service.
"Of course, I have ensured that I am in full compliance with regulations for former members of the federal government which were established during the last legislative period" Gabriel said. The ex-foreign minister added that he would allow one year to expire since his departure from government in March 2018 before joining the Siemens-Alstom board.
Siemens and Alstom both announced the fusion of their train manufacturing units back in the fall of 2017. The two industrial companies have expressed hope that their Franco-German merger can formally begin operating by the end of 2018 but still require approval by European antitrust authorities.
The producers of the ICE and TGV highspeed trains want to grow by more than four percent per year together and achieve combined revenue of more than 20 billion euros (16.9 billion U.S. dollars) as "Siemens Alstom" by 2023. "We have the strength and desire to create a European champion on the global market," Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said during the first announcement of the deal.
Back in his role as minister for the economy in 2014, Gabriel was already involved in earlier discussions between Siemens and Alstom over a potential sale of the latter's power plant business. Although the SPD politician favored a German-French alliance in the sector at the time, Siemens' U.S. competitor General Electric was ultimately successful with its bid to take over the Alstom unit.