Corona, Turkey, Syria: Crises shake up the economy, trust becomes a temporary knighthood. What does this mean for management and supervisory boards?

Krisen erschüttern die Wirtschaft

Dear readers of GermanBoardNews,

the “coronavirus” is turning the world upside down. Worries, fears, panic are spreading. None of this would have been imaginable a few months ago. As if digitalization, electrification and the climate crisis weren’t enough challenges to overcome – not to mention the events in Syria, on the Turkish-Greek border, in Thuringia and in Hanau, which leave us as speechless as they do ashamed.

Unfortunately, not much changes, because nobody (except maybe verbally) wants to show edge. In a short time, many of our values seem to have vanished into thin air or at least shifted. First we don’t want to have noticed it – and then we don’t know what to do. How do we want to live and operate tomorrow? What should the world look like that we will hand over to our children tomorrow?

What does this have to do with corporate governance? EVERYTHING. Because the discussion about sustainability, purpose and stakeholder economy is essentially a discussion about values. And when the corona crisis and other unforeseen developments shake a company’s business (smodell) and unsettle the capital market, only one thing counts: TRUST.

However, this is not something that is simply given away as a gift today: every company has to earn it back every day – trust becomes a knighthood for a limited period of time. And this is where values and SUSTAINABILITY come into play. People everywhere now want to hear the people of every company clearly and distinctly what it stands for and how it does good for the world. When we started this discussion a few years ago, many people smiled, but today it has become a daily reality.

What you can expect at the DART

So there is a lot to discuss, and therefore the 16th German Supervisory Board Meeting (#dart16) on 4-5 May 2020 in the Industrie-Club Düsseldorf must not be cancelled: It must take place in these difficult times. We will take all possible precautions for safety and health. In detail, the focus will be on the following topics:

Sustainability: We urgently need to talk about what we mean by sustainability. After all, supervisory boards, management boards and investors often talk past each other at precisely this point – with disastrous consequences for the company and its stakeholders.

You as a member of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board should know the predetermined breaking points. That’s why we let both sides speak at the DART: BASF manager and value-balancing alliance CEO Christian Heller for the corporate perspective and Ingo Speich from Deka for institutional investors.

Europe. Germany is not an island but, as is well known, a central part of the European Union. And the new EU Commission has also set its sights high in the areas of corporate governance and sustainability. The machinery is just getting started. High time to extend the antennas and arm yourself (or – with the Association of Supervisory Boards in Germany (VARD) – to defend against unsuitable legislative initiatives).

VARD is the German member of the European Confederation of Director Associations (ecoDa) in Brussels and has its ear – so to speak – on the wall there. At the 16th DART, ecoDa chairman Jan Wesseldijk from the Netherlands will therefore be able to put things in a nutshell and show what is already happening in the EU in terms of sustainability and what companies can expect. In other words: top insights for top decision makers.

Mid-size, 5G, cyber security. What else can you expect at the DART? An insider’s report on what’s about to change in corporate governance in the SME sector. You’ll also hear from a real “5G” expert about the evolutionary steps that will soon be in our sights – and you’ll hear what a specialist has to say about it from a cyber security perspective.

And to ensure that the concrete results do not fall by the wayside alongside the dialogues, there will be a moderated workshop – as a kind of finale – in which we work with all participants to concretise ideas and make them workable in practice: We want to develop concrete proposals as part of our #FutureGoodGovernance initiative.

Deutsche Börse. As if all this were not enough: As usual, we will start the 16th DART on the evening before with a “Dinner & Talk” – and I am very pleased to welcome Theodor Weimer, CEO of Deutsche Börse, there. It will be an exciting entertainment – that’s promised.


Any questions? If not, then best right away here register. The number of participants is limited.


With kind regards
Peter Dehnen