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A different kind of board

By Sophia Grene
German corporate governance laws involve worker representation through a model known as Mitbestimmung.

In recent years, corporate governance mavens have focused a great deal of attention on board composition. In particular, diversity has become the shibboleth of good corporate governance, with an assumption that improved oversight and better decision-making will flow from a more diverse board.

Although gender has been the key dimension for diversification in the U.K. and North America, there are other ways to approach the issue.

In Germany and other continental European countries, one form of board diversity has been baked into corporate structures for many years. The system of codetermination brings worker representatives onto boards, ensuring the voice of workers is heard alongside that of management and shareholders.

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Top company profile: Siemens

The iconic German firm hasn’t wavered in its deep-rooted focus on sustainability.

Werner von Siemens would have celebrated his 200th birthday on December 13, 2016. In his memory, the company he founded (now probably unrecognizable to its progenitor) held a gala event at its headquarters in Berlin, attended by luminaries from Chancellor Angela Merkel down.

With such longevity, it is unsurprising that Siemens feels sustainability is a core part of its culture. Indeed, von Siemens himself set the tone with his declaration that “I won’t sell the future for short-term profit.”

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