The new Corporate Governance Code of our Belgian neighbours shows how it works: short, concise, to the point – ten principles and a manual point the way. There you go. So I ask myself: Why can’t we do something like this in Germany?
There are several other contemporary examples from more recent times. There’s a lot going on internationally. And the German (“dual”) system of corporate governance is a model that is worth promoting. But it remains questionable whether the present draft of the DCGK will inspire international stakeholders. And I doubt that with the adoption of the ‘apply and explain’ principle before its introduction and the motto ‘Reporting is not corporate governance’ (according to Commission President Rolf Nonnenmacher in an interview) we are promoting our ‘dual’ system. To achieve this, the government commission should have been able to pick up on current trends and cleverly integrate them into the German system. That would have made an international impression.
A steep stretching thesis? No, international standard. While we are still wondering why the (activist) investors are suddenly so strong and influential, the international corporate governance world has long since turned around. It is internationally recognized that after ‘Welle 1’ (aka ‘Deutschland AG’ or ‘we all love each other – for red wine’) came ‘Welle 2’ (supervisory board is a profession and he has to keep an eye on the board).
Professional surveillance? Not enough anymore
But that doesn’t mean we’re at the end, we’re at the beginning. The supervisory board not only has to monitor the executive board professionally, but must also proactively participate in ensuring that recognised “ESG” standards (i.e. those demanded by investors and other stakeholders as well as by the UN and OECD) are adhered to and further developed.