Saori Dubourg

Saori Dubourg: Initiative against shareholder value excesses

The pressure from investors who are looking for fast money can prevent good corporate governance. A classic example is share buybacks at the expense of future investments. That’s why we’ve been asking ourselves this question for some time: How can the influence of activists and speculators be limited without limiting shareholder rights? To put it bluntly: How do we turn the stock exchange from a playground for gamblers into a …

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ThyssenKrupp: Women’s duo determine the fate of the industrial icon

A few days ago, a study hit the headlines according to which men occupy key positions on Germany’s supervisory boards. At least at ThyssenKrupp things are different: there the new committee chairman Martina Merz and Ursula Gather from the major shareholder Krupp Foundation are now in charge. After the turbulences of recent months and in particular the sudden change of strategy, it is now up to two women to decide …

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General meetings: A praise of indirect shareholder democracy

More and more often, shareholders refuse to grant discharge to those responsible: Bayer CEO Werner Baumann was met at the end of April, and next week Deutsche Bank’s management team will have to tremble. The trend is fuelling a fundamental debate about our corporate governance system: critics believe it is unacceptable for voting defeats to remain without consequences – and are therefore calling for a direct “shareholder democracy”. We consider …

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Wulf Matthias

Wirecard Supervisory Board Chairman Wulf Matthias: What’s missing now

We have been monitoring the Wirecard Supervisory Board headed by Chairman Wulf Matthias for quite some time and called for reforms more than a year ago – also as a confidence-building measure to thwart speculators. Following the recent turbulence, investors have also criticised the Supervisory Board: Ingo Speich (Deka) sees shortcomings in terms of diversity; Vanda Heinen (Union Investment) urges a renowned balance sheet expert and Christian Strenger more tech …

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Werner Wenning

Bayer Strategy: Werner Wenning puts everything in the balance

To be honest, we know too little about glyphosate and Monsanto to assess Bayer’s strategy. But we are still convinced: Supervisory Board Chairman Werner Wenning did the right thing when he stood behind CEO Werner Baumann at the end of last week. The Supervisory Board “remains unchanged and unanimously behind the strategic logic of the transaction,” Wenning said in an interview. In doing so, he left no back door open …

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Bernie Sanders & Elisabeth Warren: The US Governance Rebels

This number must be melted on the tongue: Between 2008 and 2017, the 500 largest US corporations spent four trillion dollars on share buybacks – more than half of their profits. This makes it clear that one-sided shareholder value thinking still dominates overseas – the motto is “shareholders are fuelling instead of investing in the future”. In our opinion, the volume of share buybacks in Germany is also too high, …

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Lidl boss Gehrig: A Google manager for the control committee

Is this the prelude to a governance reform for the trading giant Lidl? Supervisory Board Chairman Klaus Gehrig (70) and Google Manager Sarah Fix-Bähre, ex-Edeka Board Member Reinhard Schütte and LBBW CEO Rainer Neske bring three external experts to the highest supervisory body, the Schwarz Unternehmenstreuhand (SUT). Since the trio replaces three former Lidl managers, “the balance in the twelve-member committee has changed fundamentally”, comments the “Heilbronner Stimme”. For the …

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Frauenquote Aufsichtsrat

Women’s quota: The most powerful supervisory board members in the Dax

Thanks to the statutory women’s quota of 30 percent, the Dax companies have appointed dozens of female supervisory board members. But only a few have made it into the inner circle: according to a Handelsblatt search, only 55 women sit on the powerful presidential, nominal, personnel and mediation committees. This corresponds to a share of around 19 percent. The 12-member Covestro Supervisory Board is better than average, with vice-chair Petra …

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Commerzbank: „My Boni is over the Ocean“

The Supervisory Board of Commerzbank has significantly reduced the bonuses of Martin Zielke’s Board of Managing Directors. As the Handelsblatt reports, the inspectors had raised the base salaries in return, but the bottom line was that manager salaries had fallen. The driving force was probably the “Remuneration Control Committee” of the Supervisory Board, which includes the Chairman of the Supervisory Board Stefan Schmittmann, his Vice Chairman Uwe Tschäge and another …

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Hasso Plattner

Hasso Plattner: The involuntary code rebel

Should a 75-year-old, who has been in office for 16 years, rejoin the Supervisory Board as Chairman? This contradicts the pure doctrine of governance twice, because it has exceeded the age limit and is no longer considered “independent” simply because of its long term of office. On the other hand, Hasso Plattner is a special case: his role at SAP goes beyond that of Chairman of the Supervisory Board. The …

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AGM season: Harsh criticism of supervisory boards – that’s good!

The first trends emerged at the first Annual General Meetings of the year. Following last week’s shareholder meetings at Osram and Infineon, one thing is certain: shareholders will continue to question the competence of supervisory boards and in particular the heads of committees with increasing vehemence in this AGM season. Last week, for example, the designated Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Infineon, Wolfgang Eder, was targeted: he was “not …

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Ariane Reinhart

Ariane Reinhart: The Conti Manager’s Social Program

Sometimes Ariane Reinhart sounds like a social politician: “With us nobody becomes homeless”, the Conti personnel manager is quoted in the current issue of WirtschaftsWoche. According to the report, the 49-year-old did not refer to any social benefits, but to the automotive supplier’s “Future Skill House” concept. This is a comprehensive training program that Ariane Reinhart uses to make employees fit for the future and “reach 95 percent of the …

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