Supervisory Board of the Week: Helmut Perlet (GEA)

Helmut Perlet (Gea)

Activist shareholders are increasingly vehemently targeting supervisory boards. One of the most prominent attackers at present is the former Allianz board member Helmut Perlet (71), who heads the control committee of the Düsseldorf-based plant engineering company GEA. In July the hedge fund Elliott of US investor Paul Singer, who also exerted strong pressure at ThyssenKrupp, criticized “the lack of independence of key members of the Supervisory Board, including the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, due to excessively long terms of office”.

Pressure on long-term supervisory boards grows

Since then, the pressure has grown: two weeks ago, the company had to admit that it would miss its margin targets for the current year. And after CEO Jürg Oleas has already announced his resignation, the activists can now concentrate fully on the twelve-member supervisory board, which provides them with some points of attack. Perlet has been a member of the GEA Supervisory Board for 13 years and Ahmad Bastaki of the Kuwait Investment Authority (member of the Presidential and Nomination Committee) has been a member of the GEA Supervisory Board for 15 years. The Chairman of the Audit Committee, Hartmut Eberlein, has after all been with GEA for nine and a half years – and was directly responsible for finance at GEA for four of those years.