2018 archive photo shows Norbert Becker, who succeeds Albert Wildgen as president of the administration of the Grand Duke’s estate
Photo: Gaël Lesure
Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri has had to recall the dismissal of his chief of staff, because the decision had not been validated by the government, Luxembourg online newspaper Reporter has said.
On 1 June, the court welcomed its new lord chamberlain (maréchal) Yuriko Backes, succeeding Lucien Weiler, who had retired, along with Norbert Becker and André Prüm, special advisers responsible for carrying out a reform of the royal court, as advised in the government audit known as the Waringo report.
According to Reporter, three days before the arrival of the new maréchal, the grand duke’s chief of staff, Michel Heintz, received a letter of dismissal which, according to Reporter, referred to an irrevocable loss of confidence.
As part of the reform all important personnel decisions must be approved by the government. In this instance, it appeared the grand duke did not seek validation. As a result Heintz will not be dismissed and should eventually take on another role in the court’s administration--remaining for the time being in his post, as the ministry of state told Reporter.
In a Lëtzebuerger Land article LSAP MP Alex Bodry claimed that the reason for the dismissal comes from Heintz’s role as whistleblower, in reaching out to the government to intervene and stem the court’s high staff turnover.
In April, the court wanted to get rid of general manager David Grieu, a close adviser to the grand duchess, whose vaguely worded list of responsibilities had led Jeannot Waringo to recommend this post be axed. Grieu was also part of a judicial inquiry having asked staff to remove internal documents linked to the case of a former valet of the grand duchess and grand duchess who committed suicide after his dismissal.
On Wednesday, the court announced entrepreneur Norbert Becker would succeed Albert Wildgen as president of the administration of the grand duke’s estate. The role is critical in overseeing the separation of public and private assets within the Grand Ducal House, an area that has drawn criticism in the past. Indeed, Becker was appointed special advisor in March following the publication of the Waringo report, to assist in implementing royal court reforms, along with André Prüm.