Luxembourg’s Former Finance Chief Frieden to Become Its New Premier

(Bloomberg) -- Luc Frieden is set to make a surprise comeback as Luxembourg’s prime minister 10 years after the former finance chief’s chances of rising to the top job faded with the collapse of then-leader Jean-Claude Juncker’s government.

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Outgoing premier Xavier Bettel’s Liberals and Frieden’s Conservatives struck a coalition deal this week that will form the basis of the country’s government for the next five years. Bettel will become foreign minister and deputy prime minister.

Frieden left politics in 2013 when his Christian Social People’s Party was pushed out after almost two decades in power. He became vice chairman of Deutsche Bank AG in 2014, based in London, but was back home less than two years later at the law firm, Elvinger Hoss Prussen.

He went on to become president of Banque Internationale à Luxembourg and later head of the Chamber of Commerce, before returning to politics as the Conservatives’ lead candidate earlier this year.

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Frieden was seen by many as a technocrat who lacks Bettel’s charisma and brings back memories of a spy scandal involving Luxembourg’s State Intelligence Service that led to the end of the Juncker era.

Yet his campaign focus on supporting industry, young people and families cut through to voters disillusioned with Bettel’s Liberals-Greens-Socialist coalition over housing, health and energy crises.

A former justice and finance minister who studied at Paris’s Sorbonne, Queen’s College, Cambridge and Harvard Law School, Frieden also has experience representing his country in Brussels and on the international stage.

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