The #KodexWende is attracting attention in the USA and internationally. Why we (finally) should also look beyond the edge of our plate


Last Friday, the renowned US government newsletter Global Proxy Watch devoted itself in detail to the reform of the German Code of Conduct. Under the heading “Code Breakers”, editors Aaron Bernstein and Havard Professor Stephen Davis reported on the harsh criticism from companies, our open letter to Federal Justice Minister Katarina Barley and the #KodexWende initiative.

That shows Abroad, the German debate is being followed with interest, but often with surprise, as I know from several conversations. While we are discussing small-scale requirements for manager salaries and terms of office, the international trend is moving in a different direction – towards concise principles that companies themselves should fill with life.

I am convinced that it would be enormously fruitful for the debate here if we were to look beyond our own horizons and examine the findings of code reforms abroad in an intensive and differentiated way.

#DART15: Governance mastermind Mervyn King is coming

So far, however, we have been stewing in our own juice, and the Government Commission, too, has apparently failed to deal intensively with international experience. In any case, I can’t explain otherwise that she misinterprets the “Apply-and-Explain”-principle and wants to saddle up on the “Comply-or-Explain”-principle.

For example, corporate governance would become more of a bureaucracy than a design option – with the government commission and the code giving away the great opportunity that “apply and explain” offers.

But hope dies last – this also applies to the future of the Code. I am therefore delighted that an expert is coming here who can explain the “Apply and Explain” principle and the associated governance philosophy like no other: As part of our #KodexWende initiative, Mervyn King, the father of the innovative South African Code, will speak at the 15th German Supervisory Board Meeting (DART) in June. I cordially invite you to register – and to join in the discussion.

Any additions, comments, objections? I look forward to your feedback:

Editorial by Peter H. Dehnen -> About the Person.