A few days ago, a study hit the headlines according to which men occupy key positions on Germany’s supervisory boards. At least at ThyssenKrupp things are different: there the new committee chairman Martina Merz and Ursula Gather from the major shareholder Krupp Foundation are now in charge. After the turbulences of recent months and in particular the sudden change of strategy, it is now up to two women to decide how the traditional group will continue. In our view, the key question here is: Are long-term development opportunities being sacrificed to the short-term return interests of individual investors?
Ursula Gather: In the best of supervisory board manner?
This is supported by the fact that Ursula Gather did not cut a good figure in the conflict with Cevian and Elliott in 2018. Instead of standing behind CEO Heinrich Hiesinger, she avoided clear signals – and drove him to throw in the towel. However, Gather feels misunderstood: It is said that it did not take the side of the financial investors, but questioned Hiesinger’s plans in the best supervisory board manner. It is precisely this persistence that Supervisory Board Chairman Merz appreciates about her, as the Handelsblatt reported. So can Gather play out her strengths better now? We fear that a new confrontation with Cevian & Co. is only a matter of time – and hope that by then Gather will not only play to their strengths, but also work on their weaknesses. And in case of emergency shows clear edge for ThyssenKrupp.