Digital transformation, climate protection, economic warfare: How we can design corporate governance that is both company and stakeholder friendly.


Dear readers of the GermanBoardNews,

while we are keeping an eye on Davos these days, Larry Fink of BlackRock has already sent out his infamous annual CEO letter. Even though it talks about a “fundamental reshaping of finance”, the announced ‘swing’ towards sustainability should not really surprise anyone. And also the topic of climate change should by now be understood by everyone, at least in its basic aspects.

One wonders, however, why Siemens in particular gets a bloody nose when dealing with Fridays for Future in such a clear-cut way. Misjudgment or hubris? After all, the communications experts have managed to ensure that people only talk about the mini-business in Australia and not also about Siemens’ activities in India and China.

Nota bene: How would you act if tomorrow climate activists knocked on your door? Are you prepared?

Do you know what makes your stakeholders tick?

The debate also shows impressively that corporate governance is only superficially about transparent organisational structures, separation of powers and formalism. In fact (and in real life) it is about stakeholder-focused decision-making processes and above all: communication, communication and communication.

If you want to make good business decisions, you need to know your ecosystem and the expectations and demands of your stakeholders (very) well and to incorporate these into the decision-making processes and your actions. Those who do not manage to do so will – sooner or later, but in any case inevitably – find themselves in a position of defence and justification. He runs the risk of being punished by his stakeholders – individually or collectively.

Nobody has a patent remedy!


This new complexity of corporate governance still seems alien to many CEOs and supervisory boards. They are still struggling with the challenge of digitalization and feel powerless when it comes to cyber security – and the next century’s issues of climate change and sustainability are already at the top of the agenda (not to mention the economic wars and the challenge of China).

The yardstick for successful corporate management and monitoring has thus suddenly and noticeably shifted upwards. Therefore it is high time that we stop dealing with the past and formalisms. Instead, we should look forward boldly together. I never tire of repeating myself: we need more dialogue and open exchange of ideas. Because nobody has a patent remedy.

The VARD initiative #FutureGoodGovernance shows the way here. The next German Supervisory Board Day on May 4/5, 2020, should be a ‘must’ event for every responsible CEO and Supervisory Board Chairman. Under the title “The new generation is about to be launched”, we are dedicated to shaping corporate governance that is both company and stakeholder-friendly.

I would be very happy to welcome you there.


Peter H. Dehnen


Additions, remarks, objections? I look forward to your feedback

editor@germanboardnews. com