Board pay

The Perks of Supervision

Part of modern conference room with table chairs, notepads, pens and glasses with water
Big money to be had for people who sit on the non-executive supervisory boards.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German corporate boards have come in for criticism recently over their pay and bonuses.

  • Facts


    • Between 2005 and 2015, the average pay increase for supervisory-board members at Germany’s top companies was 98 percent.
    • An analysis for Handelsblatt shows salaries for management-board members increased 55 percent during the same time period.
    • Regular employees had to make do with wage increases of 27 percent, according to the Hans Böckler Foundation.
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Things have grown quieter for the once-powerful Gerhard Cromme ever since his inglorious departure from the steelmaker ThyssenKrupp. The 73-year-old has long since relinquished most of his supervisory roles in top corporations and as the chair of Germany’s Corporate Governance Commission. His stint as head of the supervisory board at Siemens is also drawing to a close.

It’s to his credit that the influential role of supervisory, or non-executive, boards – be it positive or negative – has been made clear to the general public. For example, he was the one who cleaned up after the bribery scandal at Siemens, and helped to steer ThyssenKrupp through troubled times.

It is also to his credit that supervisory board members at leading corporations are very well paid.

Germany’s top supervisory boards have almost doubled their pay within 10 years. Between 2005 and 2015, the average increase was 98 percent, according to an analysis by consultant Heinz Evers for Handelsblatt. As a comparison, salaries for management, or executive, boards increased 55 percent during the same period. According to calculations by the Hans Böckler Foundation, regular employees had to make do with wage increases of 27 percent.

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