The Wirecard case proves: Corporate governance regulations in Germany have reached their limits. It is time for a change of course!

Deutsche Börse
Dear readers of the GermanBoardNews,
what is going on in Corporate Germany? We dealt with Lufthansa on several occasions, and then Wirecard suddenly surprised us. Really? Yes. I too was inclined to see the company with rose-colored glasses. After all, Wirecard has brought reputable supervisory board members on board in the last two years (and, by the way, has a quota of women that exceeds everything else).

Further Supervisory Board members were announced for the Annual General Meeting (we have reported on them here). And now exactly this company is bringing shame on the capital market location Germany. We will have to take a very close look at the role of the Supervisory Board in this disaster. .

However, the Wirecard drama also reveals a completely different problem: although we have the German Corporate Governance Code, it has no positive effect on corporate governance in terms of good corporate management and supervision. How else could it be explained that a company that complies with the Code to a large extent causes such a scandal?

The ball is now in Deutsche Börse’s court

Now, of course, one can say that where criminal energy starts, corporate governance stops. But that’s too simple for me. The problem is that the formal code has its limits – it makes decision-makers tick, but not think. So it doesn’t promote what really matters: the emergence of corporate cultures based on values and attitudes. This is more effective than any compliance management system (which has also failed at Wirecard).

We must therefore move away from a sanctionless, one-size-fits-all, check-the-box code thinking. We need a modern governance solution that puts the stakeholder at the centre and forces companies into dialogue.

We do not need new laws for this. In my opinion, it would be sufficient if Deutsche Börse were to include important governance standards in its “Listing Requirements” that fill the formal code requirements with life.

Why not give it a try and, as a first step, involve the top decision-makers of listed companies in the discourse? Good governance is not possible without management and supervisory boards. There is nothing to lose, we can only gain And who has more confidence and expertise to bring such a process to a successful conclusion than Deutsche Börse and Theodor Weimer?

One thing is clear: The international community is looking forward to Germany with great expectations – and hopes for a positive signal to the capital market. In recent days I have received several enquiries from journalists who wanted to know more about the corporate governance deficits in Germany and our reform proposals (see this Reuters report and my interview with CNBC).

I would be very pleased if you, dear readers, would share with us your thoughts on this question and on #FutureGoodGovernance in general. I look forward to your message!

With best regards
Peter H. Stretch


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