Stefan Oschmann: Family entrepreneur spirit in a large corporation

Stefan Oschmann

The Darmstadt-based pharmaceutical group Merck, which is rich in tradition, has a very special structure: The “members of the Executive Board” around CEO Stefan Oschmann are also personally liable partners. In case of emergency “the first thing I do is lose my private money”, Oschmann said recently in an interview. “I’m fully adhered.” And even beyond that, the top managers at Merck KGaA are almost on a par with real entrepreneurs – especially when it comes to long-term compensation: In Darmstadt, there are no bonus-fixed employees at the helm who go home rich after a few years without having to take entrepreneurial risks.

Family & Stock Exchange – the best of both worlds

In this way, the owner family impressively demonstrates how the spirit of a family business and the advantages of the stock exchange can be sensibly combined. On the one hand, Merck has better access to capital and “evolutionary” pressure from investors – on the other hand, the company does not have to deliver short-term profits because 70 percent of KGaA is owned by the Merck family. In combination with entrepreneurially thinking (and paid!) top managers like Stefan Oschmann, these are ideal conditions for continuing the more than 350-year success story. We are therefore convinced that Germany needs more genuine entrepreneurs on the boards of listed companies. Let’s discuss how we can create more family entrepreneurial spirit there as part of the VARD initiative #FutureGoodGovernance.