US governance: turning away from the shareholder value principle?

While the reform of the Code in Germany is a long time coming, public debates on corporate governance in the USA are in full swing. President Donald Trump, for example, urges that the obligation for quarterly reports be abolished. At the same time, the influential democrat Elizabeth Warren has presented a bill that provides for nothing less than a departure from the shareholder value principle of Anglo-Saxon character – and thus would have far-reaching consequences for listed companies. Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act requires board members of large companies to stop primarily serving their shareholders and maximizing their earnings.

Warren demands co-determination based on the German model

This would bring the corporate governance philosophy in the United States closer to ours: In Germany, in accordance with the German Stock Corporation Act and VARD professional principles, members of the Board of Management and Supervisory Board are exclusively committed to the”good of the company” (and not to individual stakeholders). In addition, Warren wants to introduce co-determination and oblige managers to hold shares for the long term. The Senator believes that the strong focus on shareholders has led to excessive dividends and share buybacks, thus increasing inequality.