Norbert Reithofer & Dieter Zetsche: Too hot to cool down?

Norbert Reithofer

The move of CEOs to the top of the Supervisory Board is once again right at the top of the corporate governance agenda. There are two triggers for this. Firstly: the surprising withdrawal of BMW boss Harald Krüger, who according to critics was never able to step out of the shadow of his predecessor and chairman of the supervisory board Norbert Reithofer. Second: Daimler’s profit warning, as a result of which investors harshly criticized Dieter Zetsche, who had left the company, and spoke out surprisingly vehemently against a move to the top of the Supervisory Board in two years’ time.

Personal Governance & Internal Independence

We, too, are convinced that even after two years of cooling off, such transports are dangerous. Because let’s not kid ourselves – most bosses are too hot to stay in the picture, too hot to cool down in time. Daimler, for example, is likely to be busy in two years’ time with dealing with the diesel scandal. How can Dieter Zetsche, who has stubbornly denied misdemeanours, watch over them independently? We therefore consider a cooling off of at least three years to be sensible, as recommended by the VARD professional principles. At the same time, we suspect: If managers seriously ask themselves in the context of their personal governance whether they have become “cool” enough inwardly, the answer will often be “no” even after three years.