We recently praised Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser for his clear stance against populism and his commitment to European governance culture. Because we are convinced that top managers now have to show their colours. At the same time, however, they must be measured by their words – through value-based, responsible corporate management. We don’t want to deny that to Joe Kaeser, but we want to point out a discrepancy: Anyone who propagates “inclusive capitalism” and at the same time earns as much exclusive a living as the Siemens boss risks his credibility.
The most effective weapon of top managers is – Good Governance
According to the Handelsblatt, Joe Kaeser received a remuneration of 9.6 million euros last year; in addition, Siemens had set aside 13 million euros for his pension. Such manager salaries are water on the mills of those whom Kaeser fights verbally: in the face of widespread fear of poverty among the elderly, populists can stir up wonderful anger against the “system” by referring to “luxury pensions” in particular. Top managers and their supervisory boards should therefore not forget: Their most effective weapon against the enemies of open societies and free markets is good governance. And this also includes – keeping moderation in salary.