Dieter Zetsche: Higher manager salaries = better bosses?


Since the “BILD am Sonntag” reported on the lavish pension claims of outgoing Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche, manager salaries have once again come into the public spotlight. The Handelsblatt, for example, was right to point out that in times of millions in salaries, board members can provide for their old age themselves. On the other hand, in the competition for management talent, supervisory boards sometimes have to (may) pull out all the stops. From our point of view, therefore, rigid flat-rate targets for Executive Board remuneration that restrict entrepreneurial leeway are dangerous.

What is neglected in the discussion

However, we are convinced that supervisory boards must discuss manager salaries more intensively. There are two aspects that we are currently missing out on. First: Anyone who preaches team spirit must not pay as if the CEO were handling everything on his own. His salary advantage must therefore decline. Secondly, who actually says that supervisory boards attract better managers through higher salaries? We then see the danger of bosses coming who are above all financially motivated – which can make long-term thinking difficult. Sure: It doesn’t have to be. But supervisory boards have to discuss whether that’s the case. And that’s why we need a code that promotes such discussions instead of nipping them in the bud with rigid guidelines – also with regard to the remuneration of the Board of Management. One more reason to stop the ongoing reform process.