Bayer Strategy: Werner Wenning puts everything in the balance

Werner Wenning

To be honest, we know too little about glyphosate and Monsanto to assess Bayer’s strategy. But we are still convinced: Supervisory Board Chairman Werner Wenning did the right thing when he stood behind CEO Werner Baumann at the end of last week. The Supervisory Board “remains unchanged and unanimously behind the strategic logic of the transaction,” Wenning said in an interview. In doing so, he left no back door open to pass the buck to the Management Board – and sent an important signal in the run-up to the Annual General Meeting on 26 April (especially to shareholders who have difficulty making their own decisions).

Bagel-Trah, Plischke, Wiestler: Competence in the Supervisory Board

With the interview, the chairman of the supervisory board underscored that there is no single has-doer at Bayer who can go it alone. We believe that this message is credible because Werner Wenning has put the Supervisory Board in a good position in terms of competence and diversity – for example with Simone Bagel-Trah, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Henkel, Otmar Wiestler, President of Helmholtz, and Wolfgang Plischke, Chairman of the Robert Bosch Foundation. But it is also clear that in view of the halved share price and the planned layoffs, this alone will not be enough to reassure investors. As Bayer now stands, the company is also likely to attract predatory shareholders of all kinds. In any case, the Annual General Meeting will be turbulent – even for Wenning personally.