A Shallow Talent Pool

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2014 file picture Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers, left, and CFO Werner Baumann are surrounded by photographers during the annual balance news conference of the chemical giant Bayer AG in Leverkusen, Germany. Pharmaceutical company Bayer AG says strategy chief Werner Baumann will succeed CEO Marijn Dekkers on May 1. A company statement said Wednesday Feb. 24, 2016 that Dekkers requested that his contract end ahead of its expiration at year end so that Baumann could take over after the company’s annual shareholder meeting April 30. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein,file)
CEO Marijn Dekkers (l) will be replaced by CFO Werner Baumann in May.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German companies generally hire senior executives from within their own ranks. But HR experts say this is not always the smartest solution.

  • Facts


    • The average German director is 47 when he – and, yes, most directors are still men – joins the board.
    • In May, Werner Baumann will take over as chief executive at Bayer. He has been with the life sciences company for 28 years.
    • External CEO hires are comparatively rare among German firms. But they do happen: Kasper Rorsted will soon take over at Adidas, after 8 years at the helm at Henkel.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Werner Baumann is a classic example of a high-flying German executive. Bayer’s director for strategy ticks all the boxes: the average age of a senior executive is 53, and Mr. Baumann was born in 1962. On average, managers join the board at the age of 47, and most frequently have a degree in economics. Mr. Baumann, who has two economics degrees, became a Bayer board member in 2010.

And at the start of May, Mr. Baumann will become a typical German chief executive when he takes over the top job at Bayer after 28 years’ experience with the company.

The pharmaceuticals and life sciences giant is proud that, once again, it has found a chief executive from within its own ranks. That’s how most big German companies like it.

Three quarters of DAX-listed companies have chief executives hired from within, according to figures from Odgers Berndtson, a respected executive recruitment agency. Filling a vacancy at the top by hiring in from outside is still a rarity in Germany – although many experts say companies benefit from a fresh pair of eyes looking at operations and company culture.

We hope you enjoyed this free article.

Subscribe today and get full access to market-moving news in Europe's leading economy.