Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state, has committed suicide apparently after becoming “deeply worried” over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, state premier Volker Bouffier said on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt. Coronavirus has resulted in an economic downturn across the world including Europe.
Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday, March 28, 2020. The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office said they believe he died by suicide. “We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all, we are immensely sad,” Bouffier said in a recorded statement.
Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, who was Hesse’s finance chief for 10 years, had been working “day and night” to help companies and workers deal with the economic impact of the pandemic. Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.
“Today we have to assume that he was deeply worried,” said Bouffier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel. “It’s precise during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him,” he added.
Popular and well-respected, Schaefer had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier.
Like Bouffier, Schaefer belonged to Merkel’s center-right CDU party.
He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Hattip to Euractiv