Olaf Berlien & Mathias Döpfner: Expulsion from Paradise


More and more companies are fleeing the stock market. According to the Handelsblatt, the number of regularly listed companies has fallen from 761 to 464 in the last ten years. And the trend is accelerating; Axel Springer and Osram recently announced a withdrawal – with similar arguments: The CEOs Olaf Berlien and Mathias Döpfner needed time for the digital transformation and could not use shareholders who would go on the barricades with poor quarterly figures, they said. This leads to a central question: Does a listing complicate long-term strategies?

“What’s the point of a stock exchange if it fails in critical times?”

In any case, it should make us think that companies seek their salvation elsewhere, especially in transformation phases in which they need capital. In this context, Dieter Fockenbrock (Handelsblatt) rightly raised the question of why a stock exchange needs to “fail in critical times”. For us it is clear that in order for it to be able to fulfil its mission again, we must reduce the influence of investors. Anyone who can get out at any time is not a classic owner. Unfortunately the pendulum threatens to hit in the other direction.

Shareholders push for shorter terms of office for Supervisory Board members

After failing at their first attempt, investors behind the scenes are vehemently pushing for shorter terms of office for supervisory board members. Then they could get rid of unpleasant controllers more easily. We would therefore like to remind you that supervisory boards are committed to the well-being of the company, while institutional investors pursue their own (return) interests – no matter how much they regard themselves as guardians of governance. Anyone who wants to wrest stock corporations from speculators and make the stock market more attractive should therefore strengthen supervisory boards. Otherwise we will be faced with a shareholder value regime – this time under the guise of “good governance”.