Deutscher Aufsichtsratstag: What makes a good foundation supervisory board?


Some donors would turn in their graves: After years or decades, there have repeatedly been fierce conflicts over statutes or corporate strategy; recently, for example, Aldi Nord, ZF Friedrichshafen and ThyssenKrupp made headlines over foundation disputes. In fact, donors have to manage a difficult balancing act by setting clear targets on the one hand, but leaving their successors enough leeway on the other, so that companies can react to new developments and drive their own transformation forward.

Robert Bosch vs. Alfried Krupp

The people are at least as important as the paragraphs. This is shown by a comparison between two leading foundations: While Robert Bosch has ensured a clear separation between business and non-profit status as well as economic competence at the top of the supervisory bodies, the Krupp Foundation can recruit top personnel for its Board of Trustees without entrepreneurial experience or management know-how. This has had a bitter revenge in the dispute with activist shareholders and triggered the departure of CEO Heinrich Hiesinger and Supervisory Board Chairman Ulrich Lehner.

#dart14: Andreas Brand & Otto Korte

But what makes a good corporate foundation? And what are the challenges faced by supervisory boards that are delegated by a foundation to the company’s supervisory body? We will discuss this and more at the 14th German Supervisory Board Conference (DART) with Andreas Brand, Lord Mayor of Friedrichshafen and Member of the Supervisory Board of ZF Friedrichshafen, and CEWE Supervisory Board Chairman Otto Korte. Impressions and statements of the DART can be found on Twitter at #dart14.