A short excursion into comedy – and an all the more serious message

Siemens Hauptversammlung

Dear readers of the GermanBoardNews,

one of the highlights of this week was certainly the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of Siemens and Joe Kaeser on Wednesday. You may have seen it on the evening news: There he sat, the CEO during the last general meeting of his term of office, and read from a sheet of paper with his head almost bowed: “If we were again in the situation where we could decide freely, it would certainly be different

In other words: Had we known all this at the time, we would certainly have made a different decision. You can already hear the comedian Gernot Hassknecht in the heute-show shouting: “Hello! Are you still going? What exactly did you not know? And why not? Have you never dealt with the stakeholders in the Siemens eco-system before? And does it get worse? What else didn’t you know?”

Don’t worry, the GermanBoardNews will not slip into the comedy section. But when a CEO makes such statements, it always highlights the supervisory board. Didn’t he know anything either? What is discussed in the supervisory board – if not the topics that are relevant for the stakeholders?

Corporate Governance: The international debate is in full swing

Of course I don’t know what the Siemens Supervisory Board is talking about. But I recommend – both warmly and urgently – that every CEO and every supervisory board read the new report of the International Integrated Reporting Council: ‘Integrated Thinking & Strategy: State of Play Report’ And be warned. The thoughts in this report will probably change your thinking. In any case, reading it will give you a feeling for where corporate governance is heading.

Another interesting report was published by the Financial Reporting Council, the UK’s highest authority on corporate governance and stewardship. The annual review of British standards – which I believe is very important and timely – impressively demonstrates that companies need more freedom to communicate their purpose to their stakeholders.

The two reports show: Even if many people in Germany do not really want to admit it, the international corporate governance community has been set in motion and will push fundamental changes – think also of Larry Fink’s letter from Blackrock at the beginning of the year and the discussions in Davos.

So that others do not take away our thinking and present us with a fait accompli, we must finally start our own dialogue process. The course was set by the Association of Supervisory Boards in Germany (VARD) with the initiative #FutureGoodGovernance. Therefore, I would like to remind you once again of the 16th German Supervisory Board Day on 4-5 May 2020 in Düsseldorf (click here to register).


With best regardsYourPeter



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

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