Wolfgang Reitzle: Pioneer of an excessive shareholder value culture?

Wolfgang Reitzle

At Linde, another wind is blowing after the merger with the US company Praxair. This is the clear message of a double interview with CEO Steve Angel and Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle in the Handelsblatt: From his point of view, “continuous improvements and shareholder value” are central, said Angel, who last collected 22 million dollars a year. Wolfgang Reitzle also spoke in detail about the shareholders and referred several times to the market valuation, which had risen to 84 billion euros. “That shows: The idea wasn’t so bad.”

Shareholders are steaming instead of investing in the future

We hope that the focus on the shareholders and their moods will not lose sight of the big picture. One thing is clear: the interests of investors and those of the company are not always congruent. We are particularly concerned about the planned share buybacks of up to six billion euros, from which investors alone will benefit – at the expense of entrepreneurial investments in the future, such as digital technologies or employee training. Despite all the industrial logic of the merger, we therefore believe that there is a danger that the most important thing at Linde will fall by the wayside: corporate culture.