(Bloomberg) -- Joerg Wuttke, the outspoken former president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, is leaving Beijing after about three decades to take up a role with an advisory firm in Washington. 

Wuttke, 65, will join Dentons Global Advisors-Albright Stonebridge Group as a partner in a few months’ time, the company said. 

The German executive, who has represented the European business community in China for much of his career, has been a vocal critic of Chinese policies and practices. His candor — such as when he called on Beijing to change its Covid Zero strategy in 2022 and warned of a decades-long growth plateau — is rare among China-based experts and commentators, and has earned him a reputation for being one of the most influential foreign business leaders in the country.

He’s regularly consulted by senior EU political leaders, as well as by numerous chief executive officers of companies that have a presence in the Asian nation. 

Wuttke first arrived in China in 1988 and has served three terms as president of the European Chamber, most recently from 2019 to 2023. He will step down as chief representative of German chemical giant BASF SE in Beijing, a role he has held since 1997.

Wuttke is also a member of the advisory board of the Mercator Institute for China Studies. The Berlin-based think tank was sanctioned in March 2021 by Beijing as part of a range of countermeasures against the EU after the bloc imposed sanctions on China over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

In an interview with South China Morning Post in February, Wuttke said multinational companies are still willing to invest in China, but worsening overcapacity in manufacturing, Beijing’s push for self-reliance and a lack of transparency from the country’s top leadership has diminished its appeal.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.