In August, American CEOs presented an innovative governance code. This should be an incentive for a courageous initiative in Germany.


Dear readers of GermanBoardNews,

the holiday season was beautiful! And perhaps one or the other of you has actually switched off properly and escaped the news stream. Did you miss anything? I don’t think so. But wait, yes!

In the USA, the “shareholder value” concept was abolished in August 2019. We remember the 1960s and the Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, who propagated that the only social responsibility of a company was to increase its profits. The influential Washington ‘Business Roundtable‘ – after years of preparatory work – now sees things differently and redefines the ‘purpose of a company’.

300 words for a governance code

181 CEOs signed a self-commitment to this end, which states, among other things, “Each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”
The document, just 300 words long, is very worth reading; one could also see it as an innovative corporate governance code on an A4 page – especially as there is no generally binding, one-size-fits-all code in the USA. Rather, it is the freedom and responsibility of each individual company to formulate its individual code. Many companies in Germany also think and work in this way, but unfortunately this is not yet reflected in the German Corporate Governance Code (DCGK).

The self-commitment of the US CEOs highlights the question of what corporate governance will look like in the future. Fortunately, nobody knows the answer. But we all have a choice. Either we let others decide; then we must not complain about what comes out of it. Or we design ourselves – preferably together with decision-makers who share the same values and convictions (similar to the US CEOs). That would then be corporate governance in practice.

#FutureGoodGovernance: Now you’re in demand

One thing should have become clear to everyone in the last few months: The time is ripe for new ideas and concepts. In times of ‘stakeholder value’, the supervisory board and executive board must be able to discuss issues at any time and provide their stakeholders with forward-looking answers. It is therefore helpful to have a thorough exchange with other decision-makers.

The 15th German Supervisory Board Meeting (#DART15) on November 4-5 will take up the above ideas under the motto #FutureGoodGovernance: This is where the shaping of the future of corporate governance in Germany begins. If you ask me: a “must-go” event that deserves the highest priority in the diary!


With best regardsYourPeter


PS: The holiday season has also affected the #DART15 promo code – as a GermanBoardNews reader you will receive special conditions until 14 September! Click here to register.