Management Conflicts

With Multiple Mandates, a Fear of Going 'Overboard'

Nicola-Leibinger-Kammüller Source Michael Dannenmann
Investors are concerned about manager multi-tasking.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Pressure is increasing to limit the number of directorships held by top German managers. But demand for highly-qualified directors is outstripping supply.

  • Facts


    • The non-executive supervisory board oversees day-to-day management in German companies, with both shareholders and employees represented.
    • From the beginning of 2016, 30 percent of supervisory board members must be female.
    • German law allows up to ten directorships to be held simultaneously; investors are demanding a maximum of three.
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“Overboarding” is what shareholder activists call it when individual executives take on too many corporate directorships at once. The word, which hails from the United States, is now well established in the German corporate lexicon and pressure is piling up on top executives to cut back on multiple appointments.

German business may have become more open and international, but its robust old-boys network is intact. A quick glance around the country’s boardrooms reveals many men in their 60s and 70s.

Moreover, the same faces crop up on a number leading Germany companies’ boards. Although new regulations mandate specific expertise and diversity of gender, corporate Germany keeps hiring familiar figures for its supervisory boards.

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