The Corona Rescue Fund WSF threatens entrepreneurial freedom. Governance issues will decide the future of the business location.

Der Corona-Rettungsfonds WSF bedroht die unternehmerische Freiheit.

Dear readers of the GermanBoardNews,

after a short Corona break we will get back to you while the Corona madness goes into the next round. Medicine, economy, society – three crises in one, and one more complex than the other. For me it is clear: we must not think regionally or nationally now. Instead, we must try to understand the global dimension, at least to some extent.

But we were already overwhelmed by the blockbuster issues of the past months: Climate change, environmental disasters, cyber war. And now a pandemic is coming (it will probably not be the last). The amounts of money being called for ‘rescue’ seem to be all in – as poker players would call it.

On the road to a state-run economy?

The crisis thus also raises numerous questions for management and supervisory boards. If you read the newspapers these days, you will come across a governance topic on every page – not only in the business section. One is more exciting than the other, but for me, the overriding topic – at least in Germany – is currently the “Economic Stabilization Fund” (WSF). At first glance, one or the other may be happy about this vehicle, but on closer inspection, disillusionment quickly follows.

After all, it is to be feared that the state is encroaching on entrepreneurial freedom here on a large scale. I recommend a worthwhile article on this subject in the current issue of Manager Magazin, entitled “Die neue Deutschland AG”.

At least the Federal Ministry of Economics seems to have realised that it should have a say in this matter – so far, the Federal Ministries of Finance and Justice have largely decided the matter amongst themselves. Apparently they are expecting 15,000 potential WSF candidates – just imagine, they are all now being put on a short leash by ministerial bureaucrats.

Good governance for Germany as a business location

Over the next few weeks, there will be numerous decisions to be made in this context with far-reaching consequences. Do all companies in which the Federal Government has a shareholding get the public governance code of the Federal Government? What criteria are used to select the supervisory boards – politicians, civil servants or business experts? Is this the great hour of quotas?

I very much hope that corporate governance principles and in particular the independence of supervisory boards will not be undermined. Because it is clear to me: Governance will determine the future of Germany as a business location.

But it must not now be a matter of merely preventing regression. For let us not forget that the blockbuster issues already mentioned will continue to challenge us as the corona crisis subsides. We must therefore focus intensively on the question of how we can improve corporate governance in Germany.

That is why we will continue to push ahead with the VARD initiative #FutureGoodGovernance, in the context of which a series of interviews was launched months ago: We presented top decision-makers of German listed companies with a series of questions and invited them to give their thoughts free rein. You can read the results of these interviews in the new section #FutureGoodGovernance (#FGG).

I would be very pleased if you would participate in the discussion about our #FGG topics and send us your food for thought, statements or questions. And please let us know if you agree to a publication of your contribution.

Instead of ‘best regards’ or ‘best wishes’, I’ll leave it at ‘please stay healthy’.

H. Dehnen


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

editor@germanboardnews. com