The worst case with Lufthansa seems to have been averted. But that is not enough: We urgently need a good governance alliance between politics and business.


Dear readers of the GermanBoardNews,

the good news of the week was: The German government does not want to send politicians or state secretaries, but two independent experts to the supervisory board of Lufthansa. If the boards and the EU Commission approve the entry of the Corona Rescue Fund WSF, the company should therefore retain important entrepreneurial leeway. That’s a good thing.

However, we will be watching very closely to see how the “independence” and “expertise” of the new Supervisory Board members actually stand. I also hope, in the interests of the Lufthansa employees, that the competence and diversity profile of the supervisory body does not get out of hand.

I also wondered why the news has brought such relief to the economy. Doesn’t it show how low our expectations of politicians are when it comes to corporate governance? Do the experiences at Deutsche Bahn and BER Airport tempt us to be satisfied when the worst case scenario has been averted?

Taking responsibility for decision makers

I mean: It can’t be. We can and should expect more from politics. This is how the question will also arise in future WSF participations: How can the state ensure that rescued companies meet their special social responsibility without severely restricting their entrepreneurial scope for action?

If the WSF sends independent supervisory boards into the race, but at the same time dictates hard conditions for the rescue, nothing would be won. I therefore advocate a voluntary commitment to central principles of responsible corporate management and supervision, which the federal government will develop JOINTLY with representatives of executive and supervisory boards.

With such a governance alliance, state and society would hold decision-makers to account without unduly restricting their room for manoeuvre. I am convinced that this would be much more effective than patronizing them with strict regulations.

Good governance only works with the decision-makers – and not against them.



Yours, Peter H. Dehnen (Editor)