Both are brilliant, both walk away with a handsome sum and both leave a tarnished legacy of unsolved issues and gray areas of doubt and uncertainty in the company image. Now, that there is at last a hand on the tiller again, Deutsche Bank seems desirous of becoming transparent again. First of all you think aloud then you announce that the shareholders will pay by a stable dividend of 0.00. A few years ago Deutsche Telekom came up with the same idea, only the other way round. The company decides its own future for the next few years whatever the results Nobody seems to care that it is by far much more costly to set the bank on an even keel instead of the company where dividend is generated. Blessed indeed are those who believe that dividend and revenue or even profitability are somehow related.
Now, Volkswagen’s old treasurer Hansdieter Pötsch chairs its Supervisory Board. There was a touch of ingenuity in the company’s invitation to the people to elect the people’s chairman by calling for an extraordinary shareholders meeting (no less ingenuous was the date set for the event). Wrong-footed by an increasingly vociferous public opinion, the company postponed the meeting sine die and delegated the appointment to the tribunal on the basis of a regulation empowering it to “vote” on office bearers which, ironically, is there for the benefit of employees and cooptation. The question of violation of the “cooling-off” period is thus quelled: “unless the vote is proposed by shareholders whose holding is in excess of entitlement to 25 percent of company voting rights”.
Thus did the judge of Brunswick vote, warping the term “election” beyond recognition. But actions are required, not complaints. Dieselgate soldiers on, so, should the person who opened the way for class action of unprecedented magnitude in terms of amount claimed and number of plaintiffs be entrusted with the rectitude of it all? Who are we asking to look after the sheep? A chairman who’s walking on very thin ice?
People are being asked whether Volkswagen is more damaging to Germany’s reputation than football. Is it not odd that soccer has a place and a purse in the cashier’s office of the sponsor in Wolfsburg. Who cares that Volkswagen has no idea what Corporate Governance really means any more than it understands the Chancellor’s Entsenderecht (right to delegation, designation). It was interesting to see who suddenly took centre stage requesting application of best practice. But where’s the problem – everything’s just fine. Going by the quarter results things aren’t really so bad when all is said and done (pity that nobody seems to remember that for 8/9 of the time there was no dieselgate)
And yet everything was just fine – always. The populace paid up and got toys and games in return, and the actors enthusiastically organized everything on behalf of producers and associations. People delegate downwards keeping their ears closed until the letter of the law is almost imperceptible and the rest (of what is needed to apply it) disappears into the mist.. In the end everyone’s happy? Who needs responsibility when ….. ?
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